Community & School News




Important School Dates
November 5 – Election Day (no school)
November 11 – Veterans Day Observed (schools closed)
November 28-29 – Thanksgiving Recess

Parent-Teacher Conferences:
November 6 – Middle School & District 75
Evening Parent Teacher Conferences
November 7 – Middle School & District 75
Afternoon Parent Teacher Conferences
November 13 – Elementary School & K-8
Evening Parent Teacher Conferences
November 14 – Elementary School & K-8
Afternoon Parent Teacher Conferences
November 21 – High School , K-12 & 6-12
Evening Parent Teacher Conferences
November 22 – High School, K-12 & 6-12
Afternoon Parent Teacher Conferences

A Decade of Slimming Down
Ten years ago, Staten Island’s leading fitness authority, Tony Books Avilez, made the commitment to make his hometown a healthier and happier place to live. That promise came to fruition in the form of The Staten Island Slim Down, a ten-week initiative to encourage Staten Islanders to embrace better lifestyle practices such as exercise and healthy eating.

“It all came to me in a dream,” Alivez said. “I woke up haunted by the idea that I was compelled to create a free community program to help my fellow Islanders take control of their weight, health and lives.” As a long time health and fitness expert, he knew he had the information but wasn’t sure how such an idea would be received. After meetings with Borough President James Oddo and Councilman Steve Matteo, The Staten Island Slim Down took flight. It is now approaching its tenth anniversary.

The program consists of free weekly exercise classes attended by hundreds of participants, group walks at the Staten Island Mall, healthy meal plans, grocery store tours and a contest for “The Most Inspirational Transformation.”
Since its inception, The Staten Island Slim Down has changed an immeasurable number of lives, including participants who have battled cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic disease and depression, as well as those who have reignited their inner athlete to run obstacle races and marathons. The program can account for an estimated 64,000 pounds of weight lost by its participants. It has affected a generation of young Staten Islanders who have grown up participating with siblings, parents and extended family who have all taken part.

“The Staten Island Slim Down was a bonding experience for my family,” said 2017 contest winner and mother of three, Ann Marie Varela. “Every Thursday night, it didn’t matter how bad of a day we had or if we were all fighting in the car, we walked in together. When we walked out together, we were always smiling and laughing. We felt a little awkward and silly doing all those exercises in front of each other, but that actually brought us closer together. Exercising wasn’t just good for us physically. It was good for us mentally and emotionally.”

The Staten Island Slim Down is free to the public, endorsed by the Island’s borough President’s office and sponsored by Northwell Hospital, Modell’s, Allstate Insurance, Jag-One Physical Therapy and The Body House.

The Big Apple Awards
Think your child’s teacher is the best of the best? You can show your gratitude for the impact she has made in your child’s lie by nominating her (or him) for a Big Apple Award! Now in its eighth year, the Big Apple Awards are granted annually to New York City’s most outstanding teachers.

Last year, over 7,000 teachers were nominated from over 1,500 schools across the city. To qualify, nominees must be current, full-time public school teachers in City district schools, charter programs, or early childhood education centers who inspire their students, exemplify great teaching, and improve their school communities. Nominations are accepted anonymously, and your nominee will not be given your name without your permission. To nominate a teacher, you will need to provide the teacher’s name and subject, the school name and borough, the teacher’s email address, and the school principal’s name. You will also need to provide a brief statement on why your nominee should be considered for the award.

You have until December 2 to nominate your favorite teacher, so don’t miss out. Link to a nomination form here. Good luck to all of Staten Island’s wonderful teachers!

Music & Toys 4 Autism
After a successful two years of fundraising, John Louis Sublett is again encouraging Staten Islanders to open their hearts for children with special needs. Over the past two holiday seasons, and with the help of his son, John. Jr., who also has autism, Mr. Sublett was able to fill almost 1,000 gift bags with specialized toys and distribute them to students with special needs at schools in Staten Island. This year, in addition to his traditional fundraising efforts, Mr. Sublett is also hosting a new campaign called “Music 4 Autism,” which aims to provide 500 music players loaded with 600 songs, 60 videos and a built in FM radio to students with special needs as well. Want to contribute to this wonderful cause? Go to to make a monetary donation or to donate a toy from an Amazon wish list.

LEGO Replay
So your child has officially outgrown his LEGO obsession. You no longer live in fear of the searing pained associated with stepping on a particularly pointy piece. But what to do with the massive collection your child has amassed over the years. Those things aren’t cheap!
Here’s some great news. The LEGO Group recently announced the launch of a new project to encourage people to donate their old LEGO bricks so they can be used by less fortunate children. LEGO Replay is a pilot program that will accept any and all previously used LEGO bricks and donate them to children’s nonprofits. Simply collect any loose LEGO pieces, sets or elements, place them into a cardboard box, and visit the LEGO Replay website to print out a free shipping label to ship your LEGOs out. Go to for labels and more information.

Parent Teacher Conferences
This month will be your first one-on-one conference with your child’s teacher, so take the time to prepare. Talk first with your child to get a heads-up on any potential problem they might be having in the classroom and ask if there are any missing homework assignments or any upcoming projects they should be working on. Take note of how long it takes your child to complete homework. If your child is struggling, consider their seat assignment in the classroom. Are they distracted by 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 from the teacher.

Girls Who Code Club
Every girl can code! Girls Who Code Clubs consists of high school girls who team up in using computer science to change the world. Club members are able to learn from fun and simple online coding tutorials, build community though interactive activities, and learn about inspiring role models. Members also work in teams to design and build a Girls Who Code Project that solves real world problems they care about through code. THe program is open to all high school students, grades 9 – 12, who identify as female regardless of gender assignment at birth or legal recognition. The clubs are free to attend and hosted by CSI Tech Incubator at 60 Bay Street. The club runs Thursdays starting November 14, 2019 until May 28, 2020, 3:30-5:30pm. To register email [email protected] or call 646-766-9554.

Do you know a child who has been impacted by a caregiver’s substance abuse? Illuminart Productions, a Staten Island-based arts program that encourages its students to utilize theatre as a catalyst for positive change, is now offering a free program to help children in grades K-12 who have been affected by a parent’s addiction. IlluminArt’s unique programming will help the students develop invaluable social emotional skills including problem solving, increased self-esteem, conflict resolution and leadership through artistic expression. The free classes begin this fall at Historic Richmond Town and will include theater, play writing, dance, music and visual arts. In-school workshops are also available. For information and registration email Keith Taylor at [email protected] or call 347-829-2703. To learn more about Illuminart Productions go to

A Charitable Tribute to SSG Ollis
Staff sergeant Michael Ollis is a well-known hero around Staten Island. At just 24 years old, the soldier selflessly sacrificed his own life while shielding a Polish soldier from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. What many might not know about SSG Ollis is that he visited the students at P.S. 56 in Rossville when he first enlisted in the Army, and he continued to exchange letters with the fourth-grade classes while overseas.

As a tribute to him, students at P.S. 56 have joined forces with the SSG Michael Ollis Freedom Foundation to to make care kits for active duty military service members. The students and staff will assemble the kits, along with notes and cards.
All donations made to Operation Ollis must be new, unused and not damaged. They can be dropped off now through Veterans Day at the main office of PS 56, located at 250 Kraemer Ave.

These items were specifically requested by the service members:
• phone cards are the most requested items, followed by
• VISA and MasterCard gift cards
• Beef jerky and other non-perishable food and candy
• Wet wipes (individually packed in foil packages)
• Body wipes in plastic, pull-out canisters
• Disposable razors for men and women
• Deodorant (four-to-eight ounces), body lotion, lip balm, eye drops floss, toothbrushes, travel-size foot powder (non-aerosol) and socks
• Feminine hygiene products
• Current magazines, books, DVDs, CDs (clean content), • playing cards, posters and calendars to decorate their barracks,
• small earphones, blank memory sticks and batteries
• New UV sunglasses

That’s What Friends Are For
Are you a parent? Do you live in Staten Island? If you answered yes to both questions, you NEED to join Staten Island Parent’s Family of Friends! Once you join, you get dibs on the biggest events on the Island; the scoop on family-friendly activities every day; awesome monthly giveaways; recommendations on schools, camps, extracurricular programs, party venues, special needs programs and more; plus special offers from local merchants, and much more. We strive to provide parents with the resources they need to raise a happy and healthy child in Staten Island, and we’ll be glad to have you onboard. So sign up now

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