January 2017 Community & School News

Important School Dates
January 2 – Winter Recess continues (no school)
January 3 – Winter Recess Ends; School Resumes
January 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (no school)
January 24-27 – Regents Exams
January 30 – No School for High School Students

Mulchfest 2017
We know you recycle, but do you “treecycle”? The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, along with The NYC Department of Sanitation and GreeNYC are urging New Yorkers to participate in Mulchfest 2017, the annual recycling of holiday trees into wood chips that will nourish trees and plants all over the city. Last year, over 30,000 trees were recycled through Mulch Fest!

Want to chip in? Just drop off your tree at a designated chipping location on January 7 or 8 between 10am to 2pm. Your tree will be chipped right away– and you can even bring home your very own bag of mulch! Staten Island’s designated chipping locations are Clove Lakes Park, Conference House Park, and Midland Beach (parking lot #6 on Father Capodanno and Graham Boulevard). You can also bring the tree to select drop-off locations (no chipping) from December 31 to January 8. Staten Island’s drop-off only locations are Father Macris Park, Silver Lake Tennis House, Tappen Park, Willowbrook Park,the Summit Avenue Parking lot and Wolfe’s Pond Park. In addition, Sanitation will also be conducting special curbside collections for mulching and recycling of Christmas trees from January 3 through January 14.​

Direct Connect Sunday
Want to know what the Borough President is up to these days? The annual “Direct Connect Sunday” open house gives Staten Islanders a chance to meet BP Oddo and his staff and learn about their latest projects and initiatives. Everyone is welcome to join and discuss what’s in the works for this year. The event will be held on Sunday, January 29 from 1pm to 4pm at the CYO Center at Mt. Loretto, 6450 Hylan Boulvard. City agencies, community groups, non-profits and cultural organizations will be in attendance, and staff will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the issues that the Borough President is working on to improve Staten Island.

BP Oddo said, “‘Direct Connect Sunday’ allows us to meet directly with Staten Islanders and share with them some of what we are working on, as well as hear their concerns. I think it has worked well, and I am proud of this event. It has allowed us to interact with many Staten Islanders who we may never have interacted with in person. Those who attend this year will have the same opportunity to meet with my staff and me and to learn more about what we are working on to improve Staten Island. We pride ourselves on being open, accessible, and transparent to all Staten Islanders, and we hope that people will take advantage of this opportunity to meet with us.” If you have any questions about the event, call 718-816-2246.

Reading Volunteers Needed
Are you looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity? Staten Island Mental Health Society is once again recruiting School Reading Volunteers to help elementary school children learn to read. More than 200 volunteers are currently working in 30 Staten Island public elementary schools, where they tutor young children (grades 1-5) one-on-one at a location within the school building. Last year, the volunteers gave more than 10,000 hours teaching more than 600 children.

New volunteers are trained at a four-hour course (2 hours on 2 days) every fall and winter by a New York City reading teacher. The training techniques include reading together, telling stories, playing games and solving puzzles, discussing books of special interest, and writing prose and poetry. After training is completed, each volunteer selects a participating school, where he or she will spend about two hours a day, two days a week, tutoring youngsters with reading problems. The 2017 training sesseions will be on Tuesday, January 24 and Thursday, January 26; Tuesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday, Feb. 2. For more information or to register for a training session, call Maryann Striffolino or Joan Gerstel, program coordinators, at 718-442-2225, or send an E-mail to or MStriffolino@simhs.org or JGerstel@simhs.org.

A Perfect Score
Jason Arroyo is really making his parents proud! The 17-year old senior at Staten Island Technical High School recently earned a perfect score on the American College Test (ACT). Jason, of Bay Terrace, managed to acheive the highest possible score, a 36, on the test to measure a student’s readiness for college. Less than one-tenth of 1% of students receives such an esteemed score. Jason even snagged a nod from ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda in a special letter, stating “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare.”
The bright young man is proud to attend Staten Island Technical High School, which recently ranked fifth nationwide on the popular website niche.com’s list of Best Public High Schools in America. Surely his future college will be just as impressive – and just as lucky to have him!

Staten Island’s Drug Epidemic
It’s no secret. Opioid and heroin abuse has reached epidemic proportions here in Staten Island—with 82 overdose deaths reached this year alone. Assemblyman Cusick and DA Michael McMahon, along with OASIS (NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse) and TYSA (Tackling Youth Substance Abuse) held a seminar at St. John’s University recently to inform young adults of the significant effect this epidemic is having on people between the ages of 18 and 25 on Staten Island. Panelists discussed the extreme danger of the “new kill pill” (the drug Fentanyl, which is often mixed with heroin) as well as ways young people could encourage their friends and family to get involved in combating substance abuse and addiction. Attendees also received information on available resources on Staten Island to help individuals who are suffering from substance abuse or know someone who is suffering from substance abuse.

If you or someone you know is suffering, contact the NYS HOPEline at 1877-8-HOPENY. All calls are free and confidential. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also contact TYSA at 718-226-0258 to receive more information on how to get involved on Staten Island to tackle substance abuse in your community.

Caring for Caregivers
Did you know that 40% of people caring for a loved one with dementia are suffering from depression? More than 15 million Americans and 1 million New Yorkers provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Caring for these loved ones can take a severe emotional, physical and financial toll on the individuals providing it. The New York City chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides local support and programs for family members and everyone facing this devastating disease. They offer a 24/7 helpline (800-272-3900), website tools to create plans of action and support, ways to find local resources, and connections to other caregiversClick here learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association.

Catholic Schools Week
Established in 1974, National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2017 is January 29 – February 4. The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2017 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Schools typically observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to their church, their communities and the nation. Daily themes include:

Sunday – In the Parish
Monday – In the Community
Tuesday: Celebrating Students
Wednesday: Celebrating the Nation
Thursday: Celebrating Vocations
Friday: Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers
Saturday: Celebrating Families

Click here to link to more information about Catholic Schools Week 2017.

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Making the Transition
Do you have a child receiving Preschool Special Education Services who will be five years old in 2017? If so, the Early Childhood Direction Center (sponsored by Staten Island University Hospital) will be hosting Transitioning to Kindergarten workshops to address the questions and concerns that you have regarding the transition from preschool special education to kindergarten. Information will be shared about kindergarten readiness skills, the evaluation process, the development of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and understanding school-age services and programs in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) appropriate to each child’s needs. Parents are asked to attend the workshop held at their child’s preschool.See right for the full schedule of workshops and to see if your child’s preschool is hosting one. If you don’t see your child’s preschool provider listed, call (718) 226-6670 for more information.

“Net-Zero” Energy School Awarded
Congratulations to P.S. 62 – The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability on receiving the prestigious 2016 American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) Committee on the Environment Award. The extraordinary school, located in Staten Island and designed by renowned architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), is the city’s first net-zero energy school. The campus produces the same amount of energy as it consumes by utilizing energy-efficient lighting textures, low-energy kitchen equipment, a greenhouse and vegetable garden, a geo-exchange system, a solar thermal system for hot water, and other cutting-edge, sustainable technologies. DeSimone Consulting Engineers served as structural engineer for the creation of the school. DeSimone Project Manager Natalie Bazile says the company is very proud of the project that “helps foster an environmental consciousness in all users of the building and the surrounding community.”

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