Friday, May 23, 2008

Upcoming Events

The following are some upcoming PTA activities - more details to follow:

Saturday, May 31 - 12 pm to 4 pm: Nu Chapter of the Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority Talent Showcase in association with the PTA

Saturday, June 14 – 12 pm to 4 pm: PS 161 PTA Dance Festival

Tuesday, June 17 – 6:30 pm: PTA Honor Roll Recognition Program

The ballots are in....

We want to thank the many parents and teachers who came out this past Wednesday, May 21 to elect our new parent board members and attend our PTA meeting. We would also like to thank our volunteers, Ms. Farahdja Jean-Baptiste, Ms. Nerissa James, Ms. Camille Orta and Mr. Kenneth Llewellyn for facilitating the election. The results were as follows:

President – Tricia Mecklembourg
Vice President – Vacant
Treasurer – Wenda Delpesche
Corresponding Secretary – Vacant
Recording Secretary – Ian James

SLT Newly Elected Parent Members
Kathleen Lansiquot
Camille Orta
Indira Decastro
Cherry Williams
Marian DeJesus

Chairperson – Ian James
Secretary - Wenda Delpesche

Please congratulate your newly elected parent representatives; their term is from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. They are eager to work with you and help our school move forward. (Please note, an election will be held at a later date to fill any vacant positions)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Profiles in Education

Last week, the New York Times featured a story on a local hero doing big things in a New York City public school.

George Leonard, Principal of the Bedford Academy High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, is a no-nonsense educator who believes that EVERY child can learn. In fact Mr Leonard has been such an effective and successful educator (close to 95 percent of his students graduate, and virtually every one of those goes on to college!!!), he has been given basic carte-blanche by the DOE since his methods are so successful. Read more about Mr. Leonard and his school here.

PTA MEETING, Wednesday, May 21 at 6:00 pm

There will be a PTA meeting on Wednesday, May 21 at 6:00 pm. Please note the time change for this meeting. This is being done because we will also be holding school board elections that evening starting at 6:00 pm sharp.

Below is an election guideline. Please read it carefully, and come out on the 2st to support your fellow parents and ensure that you are represented on the school board.

Elections for Officers of the PS 161 Parent School Boards Are Open!
Please Run, Vote and Get Involved!

• Will take place from the floor on election night on Wednesday May 21 at 6:00 pm

• Will take place on Wednesday May 21 at 6:00 pm. You must be present to run or to vote.

• Will be announced at the May 21 meeting

Term of office
• July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009

Number of positions available
• PTA - 5 positions
• PAC – 3 positions
• SLT - 4 positions

Positions and general duties of PTA positions (see bylaws for specific duties)
1. President - Heads association & presides at ALL meetings
2. Vice President - Assist president & performs duties in absence
3. Corresponding Secretary - Maintains all official records, coordinates all correspondence
4. Recording Secretary - prepares meeting minutes, share duties with Corresponding Secretary
5. Treasurer - Conducts & responsible for all financial affairs

Goals and objectives of other offices: PAC and SLT
1. PAC – Parent Advisory Council: Ensure effective involvement of all parents of Title I participating children and to support the partnership between other school community stakeholders (school administration and staff, PTA and SLT); To involve parents of Title I participating students in an organized and timely manner with the planning, review, and implementation of Title I programs and the joint development of the school parental involvement policy and the school-parent compact.
2. SLT – School Leadership Team: Comprising of administration, teachers and parents, the SLT is responsible for developing an educational plan, matching budget to needs, and building a sense of community. Parents make up half of membership; rest is teachers, school staff, union and Parent Association representation, and possibly students or community members

Eligibility for Parent Members: Per the bylaws, whether or not you pay the “suggested dues”, you are automatically a member of the Parent Teacher Association if you are a parent, guardian or person in parental relation to a child attending PS 161. A member is entitled to vote and to run for any position. The election process and officer’s duties are outlined in the bylaws – copies will be made available during the election. You can also obtain a copy of the Chancellor’s Guidelines on the DOE website.

Eligibility for Teacher Members: Per the Chancellor’s Regulations, as a Parent Teacher Association (PTA), membership must be open to all teachers in the school. Any staff person who is a member of the association is eligible to vote, unless otherwise restricted by conflicts of interest. Persons employed in the school cannot serve on a nominating committee, or run for positions on the executive board.

Chancellor Announces New Web Site for City's Teachers

Press release from the Department of Education:

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced the launch of a new one-stop-shop on the Department of Education’s Web site for public school teachers. Teacher Page, which is launching during National Teacher Appreciation Week, will give teachers quick and easy access to human resources information and a wide range of teaching resources. It will also allow teachers to access calendars, e-mail, and lists of special opportunities, including grants and other programs for teachers and students. It is located on the Department of Education’s Web site at

Friday, May 02, 2008

Free Comic Book Day

Midtown Comics celebrates the seventh annual comic book giveaway by offering free comics (while supplies last).

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free* to anyone who comes into their stores.

Stop by either Midtown Comics location and get free comics! No purchase required!

Saturday, May 3

200 W. 40th St. (Corner of 7th Ave.); 212.302.8192

459 Lexington Ave. (Corner of 45th St); 212.302.8192

Lights, Camera....

As the Tribeca Film Festival comes to a close this year, don't miss out on the fun-filled Tribeca Family Fest Street Fair. Get out of Brooklyn this weekend and head over to Tribeca for the all-day Festival Street Fair featuring performances, activities, local merchants, and much more!

When: Saturday, May 3
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Runs along Greenwich Street, from Hubert to Duane

East meets West

This Saturday, May 3, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is proud to present the 27th annual 'Rite of Spring' with the presentation of Sakura Matsuri Cherri Blossom Festival. There will be over 60 events and performances celebrating Japanese culture and the blossoming of BBG's 220 cherry trees.

Visitors to the weekend-long Cherry Blossom Festival can enjoy J-pop concerts, traditional Japanese music and dance, taiko drumming, martial arts, bonsai pruning workshops, Japanese Manga art, tea ceremonies, and workshops for all ages. New this year is the Sakura J-Lounge, featuring some of the country's hippest DJ's spinning Japanese pop sounds.

May 3–May 4, 2008
10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Rain or Shine

Click here for more Brooklyn Botanic Garden info

Oh, by the way if you suffer from seasonal allergies, don't forget your medicine and your tissues!

May 2008 Calendar

The May Calendar is out and these are some of the highlights:

Thursday, May 1: 4th grade science performance exam
Friday, May 2: C.S.L.J. (7th and 8th grade) and 4th grade science performance exam
Monday, May 5: 4th grade science performance exam

Tuesday, May 6: National Teacher Appreciation Day
Thursday, May 8: Grades K - 1, Vision and Hearing Testing
Friday, May 9: Grades K - 1, Vision and Hearing Testing
Monday, May 12: Grades K - 1, Vision and Hearing Testing
Tuesday, May 13: Crown School 6th Grade Lottery Drawing; 6 pm
Wednesday, May 14: School Leadership Team meeting; 5:45 pm
Friday, May 16: School wide spelling bee
Wednesday, May 21: PTA Meeting/Elections; Student of the Month/Most Improved Student
Thursday, May 22: Science Projects due
Friday, May 23: Career Day; 9 to 11
Monday, May 26: Memorial Day - SCHOOL CLOSED
Wednesday, May 28: Science Fair


By now, the construction crews at PS 161 this past year have become old news. Our school is undergoing a vast capital plan to basically bring a building built in the 1930's into the 21st century. With that being said, a handout was sent home this week from the NYC Department of Education that states that PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) have been found in the caulking material in a number of schools in the city. PS 161 is one such school.

Per the handout from the DOE, "PCBs in intact building materials do not result in significant exposure and are unlikely to result in health effects. The Department of Education has recently rested air samples in the schools in question, and those tests find no evidence of significant exposure for children or teachers."

With that being said, children are children and often touch materials they are not supposed to, or put things in their mouths that they are not supposed to. Please continue to advise your children to refrain from doing this. And now as the weather becomes warmer and the children are sent to the backyard to play, please have them wash their hands and face with soap and water when they come back inside.

Please read the handout that was sent home for more information about PCBs and precautions that you can take with your child.

HIV/AIDS Curriculum

This past week, a form was sent home for parents' consent to have their children participate in a HIV/AIDS curriculum designed by the New York State Education Department and the New York City Department of Education. Both of these departments have mandated the curriculum and that it be age-appropriate and address the nature of the disease, the methods of transmission and methods of prevention.

Lessons focus on developing an understanding of communicable diseases, ways to live a healthy life and how to identify community resources that can help enhance the quality of life. State regulations require that all students attend lessons on the nature of the disease and methods of transmissions. However, parents or legal guardians have the right to ask that their children not participate in the lessons dealing with methods of prevention. Parents who do make such a request must file with the principal of their child's school a written request that the child not receive such instruction and assure the principal that the pupil will receive such instruction at home.

Please sign the consent form and have your child return to his/her teacher.