Tuesday, August 19, 2008

we're all feeling the pinch....

It is pretty much old news that all segments of the US population are feeling economic hardships. Well parents, as we go out and buy school supplies for the upcoming school year, please take this article into consideration. Teachers have usually been reimbursed for school supplies that they purchase for their classes, not this year, that budget has been slashed by 42%. So if you can, pick up an extra box of pencils, or hand sanitizer, or a ream of computer paper, or.......

Class in recess-ion: Teachers will need to shell out more for school supplies


Wednesday, August 13th 2008, 3:44 PM

It's a harsh math lesson for city teachers.

They will need to dig deeper into their own pockets this year to pay for necessary classroom supplies, according to an e-mail sent to educators and obtained by the Daily News.

A program that reimburses teachers for supplies and other materials was quietly slashed by 42% in this year's budget.

Teachers can now be reimbursed only $150 for what they spend on supplies like crayons and construction paper - down from $260 last year.

"It makes things a little more difficult. It's like another way of saying, 'We don't appreciate what you do,'said Charlie Flisser, a teacher at Public School 112 in the Bronx.

"To cut it back to save a couple bucks - it's disheartening."

During this year's difficult budget negotiations, the 20-year program, paid for by a City Council appropriation, was put on the chopping block.

United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said funding for the $20 million program was initially cut altogether, but was restored to about $13 million.

"We tried to keep as much of Teacher's Choice as possible," she said. "At the end of the day, keeping the staffing intact became the priority."

Under Teacher's Choice, educators submit receipts for materials and get a reimbursement check in December. Flisser and other teachers said the refunds are only a fraction of what they actually spend for their classrooms, but the money does help.

A 2004 City Council survey found that teachers spend an average of $400 a year on supplies, and educators suspect that figure is far higher now.

"This is money out of pocket," said Jonathan Halabi, a teacher and UFT chapter leader at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx. "People are going to be pretty annoyed."

Crown School - City's Best?

Acknowledging what we at PS 161 have know for years, Clara Hemphill's "New York City's Best Public Middle Schools: A Parent's Guide" confirmed that PS 161/Crown School is one of the best schools in New York City!!!. The full list is printed below:


New Explorations Into Science, Technology and Math (NEST M)
Tompkins Square Middle School, IS 839
East Side Community High School
Manhattan Academy of Technology, PS/IS 126
IS 289
Greenwich Village Middle School, MS 896
Institute for Collaborative Education
Salk School of Science
Simon Baruch Middle School, MS 104
School of the Future
Lab School for Collaborative Studies
The Clinton School for Writers and Artists
Professional Performing Arts School
Robert F. Wagner Middle School, MS 167
East Side Middle School
Hunter College High School
Manhattan East School for Arts and Academics, MS 224
Young Women's Leadership School
Center School, MS 243
Computer School
Anderson School
Booker T. Washington School, MS 54
Mott Hall II, MS 862
Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering
Mott Hall School, IS 223
Frederick Douglass Academy


David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, MS/HS 141
Theatre Arts Production Company (TAPCO)
William W. Niles School, MS 118
Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science
Bronx Preparatory Charter School
Mott Hall III
KIPP Academy Charter School
MS 101


Eugenio Maria De Hostos Intermediate School, IS 318
Ronald Edmonds Learning Center, IS 113
Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters
Math and Science Exploratory School, MS 447
Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, MS 448
William Alexander School, MS 51
New Voices School of Academic and Creative Arts, MS 443
MS 88
Sunset Park Prep, MS 821
North Star Academy, MS 340
Medgar Evers Preparatory School at Medgar Evers College
!!!Crown School for Law and Journalism at PS 161 !!!
KIPP AMP Charter School
Philippa Schuyler School, IS 383
IS 392
Andries Hudde School, IS 240
Mary White Ovington School, IS 30
Christa McAuliffe School, IS 187
Brooklyn Studio Secondary School
David A. Boody School, IS 228
Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted and Talented, IS 239
Bay Academy for Arts and Sciences, IS 98


Academy at PS 122
Baccalaureate School for Global Education
Renaissance Charter School
Louis Armstrong Middle School, IS 227
World Journalism Preparatory: A College Board School
East-West School of International Studies
Queens School of Inquiry
Robert Francis Kennedy Community
Middle School, IS 250
William H. Carr School, JHS 194
Louis Pasteur Middle School, MS 67
George J. Ryan Middle School, MS 216
Nathaniel Hawthorne School, MS 74
Marie Curie Middle School, MS 158
Irwin Altman School, MS 172
Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School, JHS/HS 680
Scholars' Academy


William Morris School, IS 61
Myra S. Barnes School, IS 24

What's perfect anyway?

We've all experienced the thoughts below, comparing our children to others who seem so "perfect". But writer Nell Musolf shares her thoughts in the Christian Science Monitor about the perfection we seek in our children. Enjoy.

The not-so-perfect son
Parenting: A mom worries when her firstborn isn't above average in every way.
By Nell Musolf
from the August 19, 2008 edition

"We expected our first child to be perfect." How many parents have said, or at least thought, those words? Most likely every single one.

I know that's what I expected with our oldest son, Joe. He would be perfect and I, by proxy, would look perfect, too. The terrible twos wouldn't exist in our house, adolescence would be a piece of cake, and Joe would sail through school from learning his ABC's to being awarded a PhD, all because our little boy, our firstborn child, was going to be perfect.

Joe, however, had other ideas.

He was always a good kid. He wasn't the kind of boy who threw snowballs at passing cars on a frigid winter day or who dropped water balloons on the mail carrier from an upstairs window during the humid heat of August.

But he wasn't perfect. Especially when it came to that nice little fantasy I had about sailing through school.

Slogging through is a more apt description. From the day Joe started kindergarten, he struggled – with scissors and handwriting and math. Always math. While he passed each grade, it was never with flying colors, and he was never at the top of his class.

How I envied friends who had children with the "math gene." For some reason, most of the women I knew had at least one offspring who excelled at math.

I don't know how many times I smiled while listening to another mom telling me that her daughter was doing high school algebra while in the sixth grade. Or that her son had just taken first place in the school district's annual Math Challenge. Or was sending both her son and daughter to Math Camp – that exclusive "resort" that was strictly invitation-only and practically guaranteed getting a scholarship to an exclusive college.

After hearing one of these stories – and there were, oh, so many of them over the years – I'd invariably hang up the telephone and look over at Joe – who would be happily playing a video game, drawing a picture, or simply enjoying a warm spring day – and wonder, Why didn't we raise a mathematical genius? How is he ever going to get into college if he doesn't get better at math? What is he going to do with the rest of his life?

Needless to say, my maternal angst never really amounted to much. Does it ever? Moms tend to worry and worry, while whatever they're worrying about usually disappears on its own (and is promptly replaced by another worry).

During high school, Joe slowly improved at math. He got through algebra I, geometry, and algebra II, our state requirements for math. I thought we were home free, mathwise, when he floored me by announcing that he'd be taking pre-calculus his last year of high school.

"Why?" I questioned.

"Because I need to keep my skills up," he explained. "I hate math, but I need to take it so I don't forget how to do it.

"For college," he added. "I want to do really well in college, Mom. I know it will be hard, but I think it's important that I try to do my best."

As I nodded, I thought briefly back over the long years of multiplication tables, fractions, and basic algebraic equations that had preceded that moment.

No, my oldest son wasn't perfect. He wasn't a math genius, either. But he knew what was important: He was focusing on his future while I was fretting over his past.

He was thinking about what he wanted his college experience to be about. Joe was trying to do his best, even when he knew how hard that was going to be.

And that, to me, is even better than being perfect.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Yet even more dancing!!!!!

Brooklyn's The Moxie Spot, invites families to get their disco groove on at their weekly Saturday free disco dance party.

"The MOXIE SPOT is a free-spirited Family Fun restaurant. We feature a variety of arts activities and family-friendly foods."

Date: Saturdays (Sat 7/26/08 - 8/30/08)
Time: 5:30
Where: 81-83 Atlantic Avenue (near Hicks Street)
Website: http://www.themoxiespot.com

More dancing....

To continue the dancing theme mentioned in the previous post, the Dance Theatre of Harlem is hosting its 35th Annual Street Festival in Harlem this weekend. There will be performances by special guest artists and DTH students, a talent competition showcase, arts and crafts, food, vendors, and more.

Date: Saturday, August 9, 2009
Time: 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: 466 W 152nd Street
Cost: Free

Ailey Day

This Saturday, August 9th, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Celebrates its 50th Anniversary with New York City Center by throwing a street party!!!

"Come out and celebrate Ailey’s 50th anniversary with free dance and drumming classes, food, prizes, kids’ activities, and more! It’s fun for the whole family!

Below is a sample of the schedule of events:

Dance classes:
11:00-11:45am – West African Dance
12:45-1:30pm – Horton Dance
2:15-3:00pm – Hip Hop Dance
4:15-5:00pm – West African Dance

Drumming classes:

Free Dance and Drumming Classes! Take free dance and drumming classes with Ailey’s teaching artists throughout the day.

Date: Saturday, August 9, 2008
Time: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Where: West 55th Street (b/w 6th and 7th Avenues)

Tickets are general admission and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis beginning one hour prior to each performance in front of the New York City Center entrance. The house will open 30 minutes prior to each performance. Tickets are limited to 4 per person.

we're baaaaack!

It's been a while since we posted - we have been enjoying every drop of summer vacation (hope you have as well), that we have been a little lax with our posting. As we get ready for back to school, we promise we will have more postings here. Promise.