TRCS Monthly NewsletterAPRIL 2011 
4th Grade Campers
HS Career Day
Middle School Award
The Freedom Ride
What's On Your Mind?
What Are YOU Up To This Summer?
Featured Article..Student Gov't.
Featured Article....ELF
Spotlight On....
Alumni Corner
TRCS Sports Desk
Cluster Updates
BID Breakfast at TRCS
Stacey's Blog
Helpful Hints and Cool LInks

Website Quick Links







Join Our Mailing List
What's New at TRCS!


Dear Friends and Families,

          June is a month full of accolades, awards, and activities, and your students have been engaging in trips, arts exhibitions, and ceremonies that have celebrated their accomplishments and important transitions.  The hallways are brimming over with student art and classwork and every day there is another trip, performance or adventure.  We bid farewell to our Seniors on June 23rd, celebrating the fact that, once again, 100% of our graduates will be going on to college!

         We also want to make sure we thank all the parents who stepped up to take on leadership positions on the PTA Executive Board, the Board of Trustees and on the Collaborative School Governance committee.  We look forward to planning more exciting events and working together to make the 2011-2012 school year the best ever.  

         This issue is full of exciting stuff, so read on! 

4th Graders Camp at Ecology Village

May 23rd-24th , Renay's class experienced the wilds of Brooklyn at the National Park's Ecology Village, located at Floyd Bennett Field on Jamaica Bay.  Once you are on the campsite, it's hard to imagine that you are just minutes away from shopping plazas and traffic lights. During the camping trip, students explored nature, prepared meals outdoors, practiced teamwork and participated in hands-on environmental practices.  On the first day, students spent 2 hours on the beach conducting tests in wind speed, water salinity, water temperature and clarity.  They got to touch a horseshoe crab and saw a number of smaller sea life, including tiny shrimp.  Evening was spent around the campfire making s'mores and playing ball.  Tuesday, students recycled and composted their garbage, which was weighed and brought to the rangers' center. They visited a compost garden to see how their compost would be used.  This program was recently revised to reflect NYC DOE learning standards and Scope and Sequence in science.  A 30-hour free training course, taught by National Park Service rangers, is required of teachers before bringing classes to camp at Ecology Village. So hats off and big thanks to Renay for participating in this program, and to the family members who chaperoned, enabling the kids to have a great experience.

High School Career Day
art  panel
Career Day, an annual event in the high school since 2005, was held Friday, May 27. A group of eleventh graders, under the leadership of Jairo Alvear and Jennifer Jimenez, coordinated the event. Students learned about careers in law, human resources, instrumental and vocal music, web design, event planning, and criminal justice. Speakers included Renay Moran-Kurklen, our 4th grade teacher; Mark McMillan, Borough President Helen Marshall's Deputy General Counsel; FBI Supervisory Agent David Chaves; Julia Cohen, our school's lawyer; Tim Goldman, a local artist and two of our parents, Rebeca Benitez, HR and Program Supervisor at Safe Space, Inc., and Steve Falla-Riff, Senior Staff Attorney at Legal Aid Society.  Brianna Falconer and Wendy Heras organized a delicious luncheon prepared by the juniors.


Special thanks go to Danisha Brown, Jordon Brown, the high school and the kitchen staff for their support.


PBS Honors Ram Buenaventura and MS Math Students

Middle School Math teacher Ram Buenaventura and the current 10th grade class won 2nd place in the PBS "Innovation Awards 2011". Their entry was part of a Network Peer Review with "PICCS" (our teacher professional development consortium) which was entitled Student Wrap-up with Math Raps, written when the students were 8th graders. 


PBS Teachers is PBS' national web destination for high-quality pre-K-12 educational resources. They provide lesson plans, teaching activities and offer professional development for educators through PBS TeacherLine. They initiated the Innovation Awards as a way to recognize teachers who use innovative ways to engage their students.


 The video entries for all the winners will be available for viewing on the PBS Teachers website beginning later in June at their website: http://www.pbs.org/teachers/innovators/ 


Congratulations to all!

Freedom Riders Return!

The TRCS Freedom Riders returned tired after 8 days on a bus journey which followed the path of the Freedom Riders of the early 1960s.  This original group of hundreds of college students and others challenged segregation by traveling in integrated groups on inter-state buses through the deep South. What an amazing experience for our students who got to strategize with the original Freedom Riders about how to make a difference and exact social change.  One of the most amazing experiences was being at the dedication of the home of Medgar Evers and hearing his wife, Merlie Evers, speak.FreedomRide 2011


This trip was organized by former Renaissance teacher Nicholas Tishuk, now principal of the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation in Harlem.  Renaissance social worker Alison Rosow  worked with students, faculty, and parents at Renaissance to fund-raise almost the full $8,000 required for eight students and two staff members to participate (though they're still accepting donations to cover the last few hundred dollars of the trip's cost).  Prior to the trip, students read Raymond Arsenault's book The Freedom Riders to give them background on this amazing time in American history.  Says Ali "The best part was when the kids actually got a chance to interact and brainstorm with the Freedom Riders". Now that they've returned, the students are planning to make a presentation about what they experienced to the entire school.


To see more from this amazing trip, follow the links below.

Their Facebook page has wonderful photos; more articles at:   

http://www.ny1.com/content/pages/search/?currentUri=http://www.ny1.com/default.aspx&searchtarget=ny1&searchterm=freedom riders&SecID=243



What's On Your Mind?

thought bubble
 What about summer school?

Renaissance will not be having a full summer school again this year because of our continuing funding concerns.  However, there will be a small Math program for in-coming ninth graders that is under development now; more information to follow.


If your high school student needs to make up credits or regents, please have them speak to Victor, Pierina or Janna about their summer school options.


Our after-school partner, 82nd Street Academics, will be holding a K-8 summer school from July 5 to August 26 at PS 69 in Jackson Heights.  They have offered TRCS parents a special rate.  Applications are available on the front table in our entry way, or you can go to their website: www.summerschoolnyc.com for more information.


In addition, many teachers are preparing summer assignments for your student that we hope you will support your child in taking seriously.  We strongly encourage students to continue their learning throughout the summer, by taking advantage of the free summer reading program at your local library or signing up at www.summerreading.org. NYC is rich in free museums, parks and programs that can keep your child engaged and their brains enlivened.  Encourage your student to write about a family vacation or outing in a journal or write captions in a scrap-book of photographs their summer.  Please let us know about your special summer adventures...you might find your family in one of the summer newsletters! 

What Are YOU Up To This Summer?
Girelle Guzman has been accepted to the New York Geographic Alliance's Gorge-ous Geography Summer Institute on the Cornell University campus in July.  NYGA is partnering with the Institute for Resource Information Services (IRIS) of Cornell to train teachers in geography and geo-spatial technology.


Cristine Slingerland is looking forward to a lot of creative writing at the Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College.  


Dennis Gereritz and Helen Zumaeta will be attending the Lincoln Center International Educator advanced-level workshops exploring the Arts, Imagination and Inquiry in July.  


Janna Ostroff and Dan Fanelli will be leading 21 HS students to the Colgate Summer Sports and Science Camp at Colgate University July 15-21.    


Stacey Gauthier and Dennis Gereritz will be attending the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools National Conference: "Making the Connection" in Washington, D.C. in August, on  creating and maintaining conditions for learning. 


Ali Rosow is going on a great trip to Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia...can't wait to see those pictures!

Featured Article - Historic Student Government Moment

Bylaw Signing 6-2011Our HS Student Government officers adopted official HS By-laws, written and edited by the students after conferring with their constituents, their advisors, and members of the administration.  Renaissance is proud of our students for adhering to the sometimes frustrating democratic process and standing up for their principles and beliefs while acknowledging the needs of the school as a whole.    


Eloise McAviney said of the By Laws: "I think this document sets high expectations of student representatives and the student body appreciates that."  Mohammed Jawwad had first-hand experience in the drafting of the important document, working closely with Nick Maniace to find samples of bylaws and research other models of governance.  


The officers presented the By-laws to the high-school student body in classes on May 27, and the school held a "signing party" on June 7, complete with party-hats, noise-makers and ceremonial pens!   


Featured Article - The Renaissance ELF at Work!

Emerging Leaders Fellowship

"Helping Great Charter Schools Build Leadership from Within"

New York City Charter School Center's ELF program is a rigorous, year-long program designed to take exceptional teachers and train them to become outstanding secondary leaders in NYC charter schools.  Renaissance has participated for several years in this program, and Stacey, our principal, has mentored 4 candidates successfully through the program, and has committed to mentor 2 more next  year if they are selected.

Our first ELF graduate was Nicholas Tishuk, who has gone on to found The Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation in East Harlem.  Suzanne Arnold, our Healthy Living and Student Support coordinator, graduated from the program in 2010, and currently our ELFs are Janna Ostroff, Teaching and Learning Coordinator for the High School, and Dennis Gereritz, Spanish teacher and student support member, and coordinator of our federal Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant.ELFs2011

ELF provides a mix of practicum-based initiatives and seminar style learning that focus on the cornerstones of effective schools. Rotation topics include leadership development, creating a culture of data, classroom observations, community engagement, and school finances and budgeting.  Fellows are also required to participate in yearlong training sessions that meet every other week for three hours; meet weekly with Stacey who mentors them and helps them select tasks that will benefit the school as their practical leadership experience. 

In addition to her HS Teaching & Learning role, Janna chose to focus on developing a working School Government (see related article), TRCS' Recycling Initiative, shepherding through a Harvard study on Instructional Practice, coordinating the HS interim assessments and taking part in a teacher observation rotation.


In addition to the REMS project and his student support work, Dennis used his ELF project to help develop a Spanish Honor Society that promotes rigor and global competency, leadership and citizenship.  He is working with the middle school detention system to  create alternative discipline solutions, and is focusing on Leadership, and the Culture of TRCS via teacher observations. 


Two more Renaissance teachers are now finalists for the 2011-2012 ELF program, Michael Cabrera and Dan Fanelli.  We wish them luck, and hopefully will have 2 more ELFs working with Stacey and coming up with interesting projects to benefit TRCS.

Spotlight On...

Blackboard Award Winner Thandi Guimaraes

Thandi GuimaraesWe are very proud to spotlight 11th & 12th Grade Social Studies teacher, Thandi Guimaraes, who was honored for "Excellence in Teaching" at the 2011 Blackboard Awards on June 6th at Fordham University School of Law.  Sponsored by Manhattan Media, the Blackboard Awards, now in its 10th year, are a way to honor outstanding educational work.

Thandi was recognized for her role at Renaissance as a thoughtful, challenging teacher, a member of the student support team, and her long-time role as Senior Advisor--roles that make Thandi "One Part Mom, Another Socrates" as the article in Our Town magazine headlined.  "Thandi really made me think--not just analyze and infer but take an idea and think about its larger implications in life," said senior Kadin Wisniewski.  2010 Alumni Karen Campos, finishing her freshman year at Boston University, recalls that Thandi "was always available to listen about academics and personal challenges...She would give you what my friends and I called 'the Thandi look' and you knew you were going to spend a long afternoon in her room after classes were over just talking."

At the ceremony on June 6th Thandi credited her parents and grandparents who were educators and missionaries, as her inspiration and motivator.  She also spoke about her home her at Renaissance, and our founders, Monte, SandThandi awardy and Stacey, and thanked them for creating an atmosphere of caring and creativity in which to work, calling her students "awesome" and a joy to teach.  Thandi received a framed certificate and a beautiful glass apple from Blackboard, shown here with students Eloise McAviney and Dylan Neary.   


Read the whole article in www.OurTownNY.com, at http://ourtownny.com/2011/06/01/thandi.  Congratulations Thandi!

Alumni Corner

This month we visit with Cathy Messier, class of 2007.  Cathy is a Theater Major at Brandeis University and is in London doing research on a play she wrote.  She talks with us here:


"This June, I will be in London for two weeks researching Virginia Woolf for a project I am working on with my acting professor, Adrianne Krstansky. We are writing and putting up a play based on a collection of Woolf's short stories called

Monday or Tuesday. The show will be part of the Brandeis Theater Company's season and will go up in February. Adrianne and I are each directing one (we are bringing in a director from Boston to direct the third) and we are also going to be acting in them.


I am incredibly excited to work on this project next year. Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite writers and I have been inspired by her work for years. I feel honored to have been asked to work with Adrianne on this. She is my favorite professor and actually the reason I wanted to go to Brandeis so much; I sat in on one of her acting class's when I visited during my senior year of high school, and immediately wished I would get accepted so I could take classes with her. I cannot wait to culminate my wonderful time at Brandeis with this project."


Congratulations Cathy and best of luck!

TRCS Sports Desk


Congratulations to the Middle School Baseball League Queens Borough All-Stars: Daniel Bomtempo, Nicholas Colcough, Leo

O'Neill, and Christian Gallego.  The MSBL City All-Stars are Daniel Bomtempo and Nicholas Colcough!  

baseball team 2011

Lani Rivera was honored as student athlete of the year, and Daniel Bomtempo as MVP.  In the high school, Victoria Orrego and Stanley Garate took  honors as team MVPs for Lady Knights and Renaissance Knights Soccer at the Senior Awards Night.  PSAL and "Fashion Delivers" gave Knights Basketball stalwart Eric Cunningham a new suit in time for prom!


Nathaniel Abreu received the PSAL Wingate Award for commitment to Knights Baseball, and was also elected by PSAL coaches as one of the PSAL's "Exceptional Seniors" baseball player.  Come Support a fellow Knight!


The Exceptional Seniors Game will be held on:

Sunday, June 12, at Keyspan Park at 12:00pm

Cluster Updates

  • Kindergarten & 1st grades visited the Queens Botanical Gardens and are following up the trip with an in-depth study of honey bees
  • 2nd & 3rd grades are working with Izumi Vincent to create artwork and essays about the rainforest.  Visit the 3rd floor bulletin boards to see 3rd grade pointillism paintings and 2nd grade tempra paintings of rainforest creatures
  • 4th-6th graders went to Nature's Classroom at Silver Bay in the Adirondacks for 4 days 
  • 6th grade had their annual trip to a Broadway play ("Mary Poppins") and a sleep-over at the school
  • 7th-8th graders went to Camp Quinepet on Shelter Island, Long Island for 3 days
  • 9th Grade Humanities classes went to Governor's Island with their arts partner, The Children's Museum of the Arts
  • 9th-12th grades honors students were honored at a breakfast on June 10, followed by the HS Field Day 
  • 12th graders held their awards ceremony on June 3rd, their prom-dinner on June 9th and are looking forward to graduation on June 23
Renaissance Host's BID Networking Breakfast

Renaissance would like to thank our bank, HSBC, for helping us host a very successful Networking Breakfast for local business people, politicians and educators.  Approximately 25 people representing local businesses, schools, publications, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, our union and political representatives joined together in our auditorium for a bagel breakfast, networking and conversation. 


Michael DenDekker

Stacey's opening remarks reminded everyone that TRCS is ending our 18th school year and our 15th year located in the heart of historic Jackson Heights. "Events such as this one provide much needed opportunities for us to connect together...An investment made now in supporting the students of today is one well spent. These young people atFrancisco Moyatending traditional public schools, private schools, parochial schools and public charter schools will be the next generation of our country's work force, future business owners, elected officials and upcoming voters whose voices will shape policies impacting all of us and our children."  Stacey went on to thank Francisco Moya and Michael DenDekker, our NYS Assembly members, for their past support, and both gentlemen spoke admiringly of our school.  Mr. DenDekker said that Renaissance has a wonderful reputation up in Albany, and that he wished that all charter schools could be like Renaissance.  Mr. Moya told us that he was so impressed with our Student Council when they were up in Albany touring the capital and meeting with lawmakers, that he wants to sponsor a similar trip every year!


Girelle Guzman, our internship coordinator, was particularly pleased to make the acquaintance of several neighborhood business people that can provide internship and community service opportunities as well as in-school workshops for our students.  We thank everyone who attended and look forward to partnering with many on future endeavors. 

Stacey's Blog

Deepening the Dialogue
Stacey Gauthier, our Principal, and Marc Waxman, who has opened two charter schools in Denver, have been carrying on a fascinating cross-country discussion about school policy and education reform on the online newspaper "Gotham Schools". Read their entire exchange at Stacey's Blog.

Helpful Hints and Cool Links

Check out the new link on the Parents page of our website called "Supporting Your Child."



This page includes many helpful documents and resources to support your child both academically and emotionally, from experts in the field and our own staff. Currently, there are several documents (a few linked here) that will help you help your child, by understanding our discipline code, our commitment to an anti-bullying culture, and by understanding what our communication protocols and our philosophy of student counseling.


Another helpful article about recognizing bullying and its' effects:




Upcoming Events:   

  • June 10, 8:30 am-11:00 am Honor's Breakfast & Awards Ceremony / High School Field Day
  • June 14, 6-8 pm Junior Parent Meeting  
  • June 15, 5-6 pm CSG Meeting 
  • June 15, 6-8 pm PTA Garden Party
  • June 16, 11:40 am - early dismissal
  • June 17, 6-8 pm K-4 Dance Performance
  • June 20, 6-8 pm 6th grade Music Theater presentation 
  • June 21, 6-10 pm, 8th Grade Dance at Bruno's
  • June 23, 9-11 pm High School Graduation
  • June 24, 5:15-7:15 pm Year End Carnival
  • June 27, 10 am - noon, 8th Grade Stepping Up Ceremony
  • June 28, 11:40 am dismissal - Last Day of School
  • Have a Great Summer!  

Make an investment in children, education and the future of our world.  Safer, better-educated communities are great for business; they improve the quality of life for everyone. Renaissance's hard-working, high-achieving students strive to make that happen and with your help that goal is closer to being a reality:  Please visit our website for more information, and lick on the red DONATE button on the bottom of each page: http://www.renaissancecharter.org/.  Thank you!


The Renaissance Charter School