March 2014

From the Principal’s Desk – March 2014

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

It is hard to believe that it is March. As always, there is a lot going on at P.S. 51 during the month. On Monday, March 3rd, we are celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday by reading his wonderful funny books throughout the school. It should be a lot of fun. Each child will receive a special eraser with the title and picture of one of Dr. Seuss’ many books.

We are having test preparation workshops for parents next week. We will review the NY English Language Arts and Math Tests at the same meeting. Tuesday, March 4th is the 3rd grade workshop, Wednesday, March 5th is the 4th grade workshop, and Friday, March 7th is the 5th grade workshop. We hope to see you at these important meetings. Saturday academy for invited students in grades 4 and 5 will start this Saturday, March 1 and continue for 3 more weeks – March 8, 15, 22 from 10-12 pm. There will be two classes with no more than 12 students in each class taught by Ms. Kecskemeti and Ms. Goldberg.

The 4th grade classes had Dutch Day on Friday, February 28th. All the students dressed up in Dutch attire and participated in activities reacting what it would be like to live and attend school during that time.

The 2nd grade Architecture Celebration will be Thursday, March 6th at 9:00 am. Parent Conferences will be Tuesday, March 11th from 1:00-3:00 pm and 5:00-7:30 pm. Make sure you have made an appointment with your child’s teacher.

During the Feb 27th PTA/SLT Meeting, Brent Saver, from Sussman Sales presented three software programs we have purchased for our students that can be used on computers. One is a typing program to teach students keyboard skills. We will use this program at school. The other programs are MyOn – a reading program with over 4,000 books on a variety of topics and matched your child’s reading level. The other program is Dreambox, a math software program. You will receive a log on and password for your child that will be used in school and at home. Your child will be able to read many different books, on their own reading level, or challenge themselves by reading a book on a higher level.

We have started new partnerships this year thanks funding provided by ING Financial. The Teachers & Writers Collaborative is doing poetry with the 2nd grade classes. At the end of the residency, there will be a poetry slam where parents will be invited and each child will receive a poetry book of the poems in the class.  We are also doing Ballet Bridges – a program with the NYC Ballet Company with 4th grade classes. Teaching artists conduct dance classes here once a week and students attend a few performances of the NYC Ballet Company at Lincoln Center.

Story Pirates, Theatre Education Program where teaching artists have students write stories individually or as a class will start soon with 3rd grade doing some fun activities related to test prep. In May, students in kindergarten will write a story as a class. Fourth grade will also write stories but individually. The teaching artists who are actors and comedians then act out some of the stories for the entire school on June 13th.

Third grade and kindergarten have started tap dancing at the Maraval Arts Center with the teacher Tony. Fifth grade will start ballroom dancing soon twice a week. Gaby from the Art Farm who brings in animals will be visiting classrooms in the next few months.

We look forward to seeing you at all these wonderful events.  Sincerely, Ms. Sing-Bock, Your Proud Principal

Feb 2014

From the Principal’s Desk – January/February 2014

Happy New Year 2014! I hope all of you had some special time with your families, friends and loved ones during the holiday season. I wanted to share with you the goals we have set in the Comprehensive Educational Plan for 2013-14. Every year, the School Leadership Team comprised of teachers, parents and administrators write a comprehensive educational plan for the school comprised of: needs assessment, goals, action plan of how we will implement and measure the effectiveness of meeting our goals and how we plan to increase parental involvement.

Our first goal is to have students engage in high-quality discussions, exemplified by responding to and extending each other’s thinking and crafting questions to help each other deepen and elaborate upon their thinking. Our second goal is to strengthen the parent/school partnership by increasing parent support and involvement in school wide curriculum and activities. Our third goal is students in grades K-3 who are reading levels below grade level in September 2013, will increase by at least two F & P reading levels as measured by Fountas and Pinnell reading level assessments.

In December, we started Family Fridays. Many of you came and looked at how your child learns math in the class. On this Friday, January 10th, you are invited to come, observe and participate in how your child learns reading in the class. We have been working on having students engage in more conversations and discussion amongst one another in all content areas. Conversation helps us build ideas, solve problems, and communicate our thoughts. In school, we are working on academic conversations. Academic conversations are exchanges between people who are trying to learn from one another and build meanings that they didn’t have before. Partners take turns talking, listening, and responding to each other’s comments. Your children have been learning how to ask questions and respond to one another in a variety of ways. We are working on children on five core skills that make conversations more academic: 1- Elaborate and clarify, 2- Support ideas with examples, 3- Build on and/or challenge a partner’s idea, 4- Paraphrase, 5- Synthesize conversation points. For example, for elaboration and clarification, the questions you can ask may be: Can you elaborate on…? What do you mean by…? Can you tell me more about…? We are teaching your children that they can respond by saying: I think it means that…, In other words…, I believe that…

Conversation and discussion looks differently in each grade but all children are learning to talk to a partner or in a group when they read a book, solve a math problem, or work on a project in science and/or social studies. We will distribute a handout during family night with some of the conversation skills, questions and response prompts we are working on in classes.

I encourage all of you at home to have discussions with your children during meal time, reading a book, watching a television show or movie, and/or playing a game or doing an activity together. Because of computer games and technology, we have found that children and people are talking to one another less. Having rich conversations where children are exposed to academic vocabulary, speaking in full sentences, and questioning and responding to one another is important. We have found that children who can talk with one another in discussions are better writers. We look forward to having you participate in the many events, meetings, and workshops we have for parents at P.S. 51.

December Newsletter

It is hard to believe that it is the end of the year. November was a wonderful month. We found out that P.S. 51 earned an “A” on the 2012-13 Department of Education Progress Report. We are very proud of the hard work of our students, teachers, staff, administration and parents who all contributed to this top grade despite the more rigorous common core standards, harder state tests, temporary re-location of P.S. 91 at Our Lady of Good Counsel on East 91st Street bussing all our students from the west side.

 

Ms. Myers-Jusko, A.P. and I met with all teachers to discuss the progress of all your children. So many students have made incredible academic progress since September. For students who need extra help, they are attended extended time Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We also individualize the work in the classrooms with the many reading, math, and writing groups on your child’s level. We will also have a Saturday Program for students in Grades 3-5 in March before the NY State tests. Students who have scored a Level 1 or 2 on the state tests in Grades 4 and 5 will be invited as well as students we identify in Grade 3 who need extra support.

 

On Friday, December 6th at 8:30 a.m, we invite parents to come and see how your child learns math as the first “Family Friday,” series we will be conducting this year. This is an opportunity for you to observe your child, their class and the teacher in a specific content area so that you can see first-hand how your child is learning math and how we teach it. You will visit your own child’s classrooms from 8:30-9:15 am.

 

We have many celebrations in December. Kindergarten will have their celebration of what they have learned about trees on December 18 at 8:30 am. 4th Grade will have their celebration of Native American on December 12 at 1 pm. Students share what they have learned in these content themes through reading, writing, math, science, social studies, music and art. Don’t miss them. On December 20th, we will have a music performance of our special ensembles and a sing along for the holiday at 1:30 pm.

 

I hope you all have a happy holiday season with your families and friends. This is a special time of year for people to come together with their loved ones to celebrate whatever holiday you celebrate. See you after the New Year on Thursday, January 2, 2014! Happy New Years!

 

Sincerely,

 

Nancy Sing-Bock

Principal of P.S. 51

From the Principal’s Desk – November 2013

From the Principal’s Desk – November 2013

It was wonderful to see so many of you, alumni and their families at the Ribbon Cutting Celebration on Friday, October 18, 2013.  Thanks to all of you who brought food, decorated, shopped, served and cleaned up for the party. A special thanks to the P.T.A. Executive Board who helped coordinated the entire event. It was heart-warming to see our school community come together to celebrate the opening of our beautiful new school building. It was also great to have the Story Pirates perform at the celebration free of charge. In June, the director had contacted me to offer a performance for our school to commemorate the grand opening of our new building back on the west side.

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