Friday, April 18, 2008

In the Community

Last night at MS 61, District 17 Presidents Council held a meeting open to the community. The Presidents Council is made up of PTA presidents in a district as well as PTA/PAC and SLT board members. There were many guests present notably Assemblyman Karim Camara, Assemblyman Hakim Jeffries, representative for NY State Senator Eric Adams, and Ms. Martine Guerrier. Ms. Guerrier answered many questions from the crowd.

The following is some of the information that was garnered. You can visit these local elected officials offices (which are in the neighborhood) to get much more info - click on their names above to be taken directly to their website.

Friday, April 18 6:30 - 7:30 pm; Brooklyn Public Library (Grand Army Plaza) - Partner with NYS Senator Eric Adams to Develop a Contract with Our Children. Senator Adams is inviting Parent and Community organizations to join him in continuing to develop 10 critical items that elected officials must agree to in support of the educational needs of our children.

Saturday, April 26 12:00 - 4:00 pm; MS 61; 2008 Summer Solutions - Featuring Community Resources, Career Workshops and Job Fair. Sponsored by Assemblyman Karim Camara, The Crown Heights Unites Coalition and District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. The day will feature two programs. One for teens and young adults - find a job, attend job readiness workshops (YOU MUST DRESS IN BUSINESS ATTIRE); the second program is for families with children - find summer camps and other activities. Contact Lauren Baranco at 718.756.1776 for more information.

Various Dates: May 13, May 20, May 27 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm; Marcus Garvey Nursing Home; Maximize Your Job Search - a free seminar for people who are looking for immediate employment. Sponsored by Assemblyman Karim Camara, presented by SUNY-BEOC Bridge Program. Topics will include creating a marketable resume and cover letter; enhancing your interviewing skills. For more information or to register call 718.756.1776

Saturday, May 10 at 9:00 am; Walk a Mile for Your Momma - 4th Annual Mother's Day walk to raise awareness about domestic violence. Presented by Jonah Village, the Grand Marshall will be NYS Senator Eric Adams. Assemble at Bed-Stuy Restoration Plaza-Harriet Tubman Way (formerly Fulton Street) at 9:00 am; walk commences at 10 am.

Odds and Ends

First a THANK YOU to all who attended the PTA meeting this past Monday. It was a pretty special night as we honoroed the Students of the Month, Most Improved Students and Read-a-Thon winners. The auditorium was packed as parents came out to support their children's hardwork.

The evening also featured as special guest, Ms. Dona Collins of DC Collins Worldwide who did a presentation on ‘Simple Nutritious Snacks for Kids’. Ms. Collins brought a sample of the snacks from the line. Contact information for Ms. Collins is as follows, 866.766.9290 and The website is

Finally, one of the best features of the night was the PS 161 School Band led by Mr. Aird. This band was formed by Mr. Aird in January - most of the students have never played an instrument before. Well in a few short months, this band is rocking the house and performing at PS 161 events by special request. Anyone interested should contact Mr. Aird - practice is held after school on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Upcoming PTA and School Activities

Monday, April 14th at 6:30 pm – PTA Meeting (Auditorium). Please join us for general updates regarding PTA activities as well as reports from PAC and SLT. Additionally, certificates will be presented for Students of the Month as well as Most Improved Student of the Month.

Wednesday, April 16 at 5:45 pm – SLT Meeting (Cafeteria). This special meeting will be an open session – all are welcome, but only SLT board members will be able to speak. If you ever wanted to know what goes on in an SLT meeting, then please join us.

Week of April 21 to 25 – Spring Break – School will be closed for the entire week.

Changes to the Gifted & Talented Programs, again

From a press release today from the DOE, 'Revised Standard Would Give Nearly Twice as Many Students an Opportunity to Participate in a Gifted Program than Originally Approved Standard'. Chancellor Klein has revised the admission policy for G&T programs as ' to accommodate the overwhelming increase in the number of students testing for admission.'

Please click here to read the entire press release.

Pre-K applications are on line NOW!

Click here for the link for 2008-9 Pre-K applications and directory.

The Pre-Kindergarten Directory provides information about the New York City Pre-Kindergarten programs that are available for the 2008-2009 school year. These programs are in selected public schools and contracted Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). You will find two lists of schools (public school programs and CBO programs), their locations and other important information regarding the application process included in the directory.

The 2008-2009 New York City Public School Pre-Kindergarten Application is included in the directory. The application must be mailed to the following address by Friday, April 18.

New York City Department of Education
Pre-Kindergarten Admissions
PO Box 679
Willow Grove, PA 19090

To apply to pre-Kindergarten programs offered by CBOs, parents should submit applications directly to the appropriate CBOs. A CBO is a Community Based Organization that provides early childhood services such as a day care center, a Head Start or child care center. These sites located in neighborhoods across the city contract with the New York City Department of Education to provide Universal Pre-Kindergarten services.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him

Today, April 4th, 2008, is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Over the years Dr. King has been placed into two groups; those who considered him too meek, not adamant enough or outraged about the atrocities committed by those during the Jim Crow era. How could a man who was arrested 29 times for his civil rights activities say the title quote above? Then there are those who are trying to vilify Dr. King - he smoked! And there are rumors of the extra-marital affairs. What does this all prove? That Dr. King was a mortal, a human being, not able to fit in a one-dimensional box created for him.

Truly think about Dr. King and his life's work. Did you know towards the end of his life, his platform changed from overall civil rights for black people to one of equal rights for all poor people? He was having success organizing the labor unions and other activists working for poor people (black and white) - that is why some believe that he was assassinated. His work was touching a chord in the mainstream society as he was starting to achieve one of the most illusive goals in this society – unity among the working classes.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Inspiration in Frozen Territory

A New York Times article published on March 28, 2008 by Sara Rimer “Harlem to Antarctica for Science, and Pupils” features Ms. Shakira Brown, a 29-year-old Harlem middle school science teacher and her eight weeks research expedition in Antarctica.

Could you spend a day, much less 56 in the following conditions: camping on the sea ice in unheated tents, in 20-below-zero temperatures; blinding whiteouts;. the bathroom - a toilet seat over a hole in the ice. Well Ms. Brown decided that this would be a great teaching tool for her students and provide some much needed role models in the field of science, research and the like.

Click here to read the entire story. Ms. Brown is definitely a trail-blazer that we will be reading more about in the future!

April 2008 Calendar

The April calendar was sent home yesterday, and below are some hightlights:

Friday, April 4th - Honor Roll Recognition; 9:30 am
Friday, April 11th - Schoolwide Poetry Contest
Monday, April 14th - PTA Meeting; 6:30 pm
Wednedsday, April 16th - SLT Meeting (Open Session); 5:45 pm
Thursday, April 17th - Poem in your Pocket Day
Monday, April 28th - New York State 8th Grade Science Test
Wednesday, April 30th - New York State Science Written Test; Grades 4 and 8