June 2017 Community & School News

Important School Dates
June 5 – NY State Science Exams (grades 4 & 8)
June 8 – Anniversary Day (no school for public school students)
June 12 – Clerical Day (no school for public elementary & middle school students)
June 14-22 – Regents Exams
June 23 – Regents Rating Day: (no school for public high school students)
June 26 – Eid al-Fitr (public schools closed)
June 28 – Last day of school for public school students

Toys Needed for RUMC’s Tiny Patients
The youngest patients at Richmond University Medical Center desperately need your help. The hospital’s pediatric unit is in need of toys for their playroom, which is used by the children as a safe space from doctor’s exams and medically invasive procedures and tests, as well as place to occupy their time when their families are not present. The hospital relies heavily on community donations throughout the year to fill the playroom with developmentally appropriate toys for the children as well as toys that are used as bravery rewards.  Young oncology patients are rewarded for completed rounds of chemo and for cooperation during tests and procedures. All of the children on the unit are rewarded with bravery prizes after having IV’s inserted.

The toy drive was off to a great start last month after hospital staff reached out to the community, immediately receiving donations from various individuals and organizations. ECHO, or Emergency Children’s Help Organization, generously donated $1000. ECHO is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to children and their families during a time of need.

Unfortunately, with 10-18 patients per day, the hospital is still running low on donations and will continue to need help maintaining their playroom and providing brave children with rewards. If you would like to donate a toy or place a monetary donation to help brighten the day of a sick child, please contact Isabella Lombardo at 718-818-2977.

Want to help the tiniest patients of all? RUMC is also hosting its 4th Annual Clambake Fundraiser to support the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in honor of the late Dr. Anantham Harinon on Wednesday June 28 at the Vanderbilt in South Beach (300 Father Capodanno Blvd.). Click here for more information and to link to the registration page. You can email [email protected] or call (718) 818-2788 with any questions.

Readers Are Leaders
Last month, Borough President Oddo honored students from schools around Staten Island who participated in the 21st annual “Readers Are Leaders” 4th Grade Reading Challenge. “Readers Are Leaders” challenged 4th grade classes in the Island’s public, parochial and private schools to read a minimum of six books at grade level or above during the five-week period of February 12 to March 18. Students then submitted a report on their favorite book that they read during the period. Each school picked one “Exceptional Reader” to be honored at the ceremony. Since the program began in 1996, 4th graders have read more than 630,000 books for the annual challenge.

“YEA” Gabrielle!
Congratulations to Staten Island Tech student Gabrielle Garcia, who recently won the national YEA! 2017 Saunders Scholar Competition and was named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur. Gabrielle won the local Staten Island competition in April and then traveled to Rochester, NY in May to compete against 92 students representing 76 businesses from YEA! programs across 35 states around the country.

Gabrielle was awarded a $30,000 Rochester Institute of Technology scholarship, mentoring by E. Philip Saunders himself, and an all-expense paid trip to attend America’s Small Business Summit hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC in September. She was also named the National People’s Choice Champion in a text-to-vote poll. Her winning product, Stench Snipers, is a deodorizing insert for hockey gloves.

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program began in October 2013, the first and only such program in New York City. It is offered as an afterschool, non-credit course meeting once a week for three hours each week.  All Staten Island high school students are eligible to apply. “It’s such an honor to see our own Gabbie Garcia take home the National win. Gabbie was passionate about her idea from the first day I met her and has worked very hard to bring her product to market,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.  “I believe she has the tenacity to succeed in business.  Kudos to Gabbie! We at the Chamber are proud to take part in bringing out her entrepreneurial spirit through the YEA! Program.”

Carnival & Science Fun
The Staten Island Children’s Museum is hosting its annual fundraiser, The Carnival & Science Spectacular, an old-fashioned day of family fun on the Meadow. The museum aims to get kids and families excited about science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) by learning the mechanics behind carnival rides and games, the science of cooking, and the mathematics present all around us, every day.

“Every year the Carnival & Science Spectacular amazes children and families by demonstrating that science is around us every day. It is exciting to see the wonder in the eyes of kids as they interact with robots, use lasers to cut through metal, or marvel at amazing insects,” says Kerri Bringslid, Carnival co-chair.

The event will take place Saturday, June 3 from 1 to 5 p.m. (rain date Sunday, June 4). Tickets are $15 at the gate and $13 in advance at the museum or online at sichildrensmuseum.org. Funds raised for the Carnival & Science Spectacular support Museum school, camp, and public programs.

State-Funded Help for Local Addicts
Staten Island is officially home to a much-needed 24/7 addiction treatment center. Governor Cuomo recently announced the grand opening of Next Step Resource and Recovery Center, the first of its kind in our borough. The state-funded drug recovery center is operated by Community Health Action of Staten Island and provides access to services and information for people in recovery from substance abuse and their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is located at 26 Bay Street in St. George.

“The opening of this community-based recovery center comes at a crucial time for Staten Island,” said District Attorney Michael McMahon. “Almost every day, another family must bear the tragedy of losing a loved one to the disease of addiction. It is imperative that we provide constant, around-the-clock care to those suffering from substance abuse illness in order to overcome this epidemic and save lives.”

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or those with loved ones struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY or by texting HOPENY.

Fourth of July Travis Parade
Independence Day is just weeks away! The annual Fourth of July Travis Parade is celebrating its 107th anniversary this July. The celebration is one of the oldest, continuously-held Independence Day parades in the country. This year’s Grand Marshal will be NYS Assemblyman Michael Cusick. The rain-or-shine ceremony kicks off noon at the reviewing stand at P.S. 26 at 4108 Victory Blvd, followed by the parade step-off from Showplace Entertainment Center at 141 East Service Road at 12:30pm. Click here for more information.

Summer Reading Challenge
The Scholastic Summer Challenge keeps kids hooked on books over the summer break! To participate in the challenge, kids simply log their reading minutes on the Scholastic website each day to earn virtual rewards. The challenge is already underway, with millions of minutes logged so far. Kids have until September 8 to log their minutes. This year’s theme is “Happy Camper” encouraging adventures in reading this summer. The school that logs the most minutes will receive “Best in State” recognition.

Go to to siparent.com/summer-reading-programs for the scoop on local summer reading parties, programs and more!

Staten Island Summertime Fun
Is it summer yet? Almost! And there’s tons do in Staten Island all summer long! As always, Staten Island Parent’s got you covered on where to go and what to do. So stop what you’re doing right now and go bookmark our summer section online at siparent.com/summer to stay updated on all of the best seasonal happenings on the Island from June until early September. We’ll keep you in the loop with fireworks schedules, free summer concerts, carnivals and festivals on the Island and in NJ, nearby pick-your-own fruit farms, free movies under the stars, free beach events and entertainment, summertime ideas and activities for kids and so much more. The summer fun is endless! Now go bookmarksiparent.com/summer!

Happy Campers
Have you ever spent a night in the great outdoors? The National Wildlife Federation is again hosting its Great American Campout, now in its 12th year of camping fun. The annual event encourages people to connect with the great outdoors, get closer to nature, and get motivated to protect wildlife and wild places. People are asked to make an online pledge to camp anywhere they’d like – including their own backyard— on the Great American Campout Day, June 24. The NWF will provide all the information needed, including a directory of hosted Great American Campout locations, tips on what to bring, lists of campout activities and recipes, and more. Campers are encouraged to take #Campies (Camping Selfies) and submit them to NWF’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to share their experiences. Click here to link to their website.

For a fun camping experience right here in Staten Island, Urban Park Rangers will be hosting a family camping event on Saturday, June 24 at Blue Heron Park. Space is limited and registration will take place online on June 14. Participants will be chosen via lottery. Click here to link to the registration page.

Stars on Staten Island
Have you spotted your favorite movie star in Staten Island yet? BP Oddo recently teamed up with Broadway Stages (the largest TV and film production company on the East Coast) to announce the filming of a new Netflix series and major motion picture at the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility. Ocean’s 8, a sequel and all-female spinoff of the Ocean’s trilogy, and the Netflix series Seven Seconds both filmed at the facility back in May. Broadway Stages is currently working on buying out the facility, which has already been used for popular shows like Blindspot, Quantico, Blacklist, The Americans and more. We can’t wait to see more stars!

3K-For All
The “3” is not a typo, folks. Mayor de Blasio recently announced the city’s plans to provide a free, full day of school to all three-year-olds in New York City. The program kicks off in the fall for schools in the South Bronx and Brownsville. By the fall of 2020, at least six more districts will be added, with an ultimate goal of universal 3K For All by 2021. Plans for Staten Island schools have not been announced yet, but we will keep you updated as we learn more from the DOE.

“The research is clear – investment in early childhood education reaps benefits for students, families and communities for years to come. Using the successful model we developed for Pre-K for All, we are doubling down with free, full-day, high-quality 3-K for All for our three-year-olds. This extra year of education will provide our children with a level of academic and social development that they cannot get later on, while at the same time, alleviating some of the strain New York City’s working families face today,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Cool News for Schools
School just got a whole lot cooler. Mayor de Blasio recently announced funding to provide every classroom in New York City with air conditioning. The city dedicated $28.75 million to purchase and install air conditioning units in all classrooms by 2022. Twenty-six percent of classrooms are currently without functioning air conditioners. The first round of installations are slated to start this summer.

“Making sure that all classrooms are air conditioned is one more commitment we’re making to ensure that nothing stands in the way of our students and a quality education,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I’ve spoken with countless parents at town halls across the city and this issue has come up repeatedly. We’re investing in classrooms to create a safe, comfortable atmosphere to build on the progress our schools have made over the last few years.”

Big Apple Winners
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2017 Big Apple Awards! Nineteen educators from all five boroughs were honored for their outstanding work, including Julia Scatt, 2nd Grade Special Education Teacher at P.S. 45 John Tyler here in Staten Island. The Big Apple Awards are a citywide recognition program open to all full-time teachers in New York City public schools and recipients were selected from a pool of over 7,800 nominations.

Single-Stalls in Schools
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announced an initiative to provide every public school with a single-stall bathroom for students with medical conditions and disabilities, as well as transgender and gender non-conforming students, by June of next year. The DOE’s Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Guidelines permit students to use any bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, and the single-stall bathrooms provide an additional safe space for these students.

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