TRCS Monthly NewsletterNOVEMBER 2011 
Featured Article..
NYGA GeoFest
Geography in Our Classes
TRCS Marathon Update
Senior Class Trip
This Semester
PTA News
Renaissance Rocks!
Alumni Corner
TRCS Sports Desk
After-School Parent Night

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What's New at TRCS!

 November is Geography Awareness month here at Renaissance, and even though the month is almost gone, we wanted to celebrate the many ways our students are learning to think about our world.  Did you know that the study of Geography skills will actually teach a young brain the spatial concepts that are vital in learning to read and understand numbers? By using maps and thinking about spatial data students will eventually be able to understand and interpret the implications behind all kinds of human associations and the phenonema of PLACE.


Read on to find out what's going on in the world of Renaissance! 

Featured Article: Why Geography Education?

by Stacey Gauthier


Dear Renaissance Families:   

Renaissancholding globee is committed to providing your child with a well-rounded education which includes in addition to math, science, English language arts, social studies and physical education, comprehensive arts and foreign language programs.  We truly aspire to have our students be "Renaissance" learners - knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects and creative in the ways they think about the world.


One subject that, unfortunately, has been lost in many schools or narrowed down in its focus is geography. I am pleased to say that Renaissance truly understands the importance of our students having a sound foundation in geographic concepts and we have implemented geographic units throughout our K-12 program. 


Why is geography education so critical?  The next generation of leaders (our students) will be living and working in a truly global environment.  They will need a broad understanding of the connectivity of the world around them.  They will need to be able to fully understand how the past impacts the present and ultimately can play a part in determining the future.  They will need to be innovative problem-solvers who can utilize the information available to them to address global issues both in our country and around the world.


We are so fortunate to have a resident geographer, Carol Gersmehl, working in our building with teachers across the grades.  Carol is a highly regarded cartographer and is also the Co-Coordinator for the New York Geographic Alliance.  She was instrumental in helping us launch our AP Human Geography class in the high school.  Additionally, we are very pleased that Rebekah Oakes, our Director of Development and Partnerships, is on the board of trustees for the New York Geographic Alliance where she works on projects to support and promote geographic education in all schools.


Our commitment to growing an interdisciplinary geography-infused curriculum is strong.  We will continue to keep you informed about these exciting learning opportunities for your child.

New York Geographic Alliance - GeoFest!
Carol Gersmehl, Co-Coordinator for The New York Geographic Alliance (NYGA) and Rebekah Oakes, Director of Development and Partnerships, traveled to the board meeting and GeoFest recently, in Rochester, NY.

NYGA seeks to promote and improve geographic education from kindergarten through university throughout New York State. As a discipline, geography is disappearing in our schools, and more than ever, there is a need to revitalize geographic education in the state's classrooms.  GeoFest is held in upstate NY annually, and brings together Geography and Social Studies educators with teachers of all subjects to share model lessons, learn strategies for integrating geography into other curriculum, and this year, learn how the New York Common Core Learning Standards will impact teaching and learning.  


We are dedicated to working with teachers in providing geographic training and resources, to actively foster standard-based geographic learning, to infuse geography in other disciplines, and to promote geography training for pre-service teachers.


Carol and Rebekah joined the PTA Pasta Night and Carnival to promote Geography Awareness Week.  Students signed up for a raffle to win a globe beach ball and other prizes, and find out about "Mission: Explore!" which sends students on missions to find out fascinating facts about their communities.  "Pick and complete one of our missions to unlock points, earn rewards and see your world with new eyes."  Find out more at  http://www.missionexplore.net/.


Geography Education Around the School 


The 2nd graders have just finished reading about Flat Stanley and Stanley is ready to travel!  In case you are unfamiliar, Flat Stanley is a book about a little boy who is flattened by a bulletin board while he is sleeping.  When his parents cannot afford a plane or train ticket to send him to visit a friend in California, they decided to mail him in an envelope! Flat Stanley


The children have created their own Flat Stanleys with stories of his New York adventures.  Now we want to send Stanley across the United States so we can learn about each state.  (The last time you all helped, we managed to reach 42 states!!!!!)  We are asking for addresses of friends and family within the United States, who would be willing to host a visit from Stanley.  We need them to take him on an adventure, or make up an adventure that would teach us about the landmarks within the state.  In the past, we had people send us boxes of unusual items, like deer antlers and pine cones from Idaho, and sea shells and starfish from Florida. 

If you know of anyone who can help us, please send their address or email to Daniela LaBella, 2nd Grade, Room 303, or


Our 4th graders are working on their map-skills book, learning about how to read maps by doing projects while learning about the United States.  We just heard that the students are rehearsing a play about the Pilgrims and their journey from England to Amsterdam to America! 


The 6th grade will be doing our Nile River study where they make three- dimensional maps.  Students will be taking a virtual tour of the Silk Road and will document their learning through creating a detailed board game.


Our 9th and 10th graders take Global History and Geography, of course, as one of their Regents requirements.  9th graders get to study Global History through the lens of art, theater and literature, as part of their Humanities class taught by Jose Mane and supported by arts infusion.  Curtis Anderson looks at history from a theatrical stand, having students write mini-plays from the point of view of historical characters.  Jamie CMA-HumanitiesKelty, teaching artist from the Children's Museum of the Arts, create artifacts from history, such as Egyptian mummy cases or Chinese shadow puppets. 10th graders cycle through a series of hands-on Global Labs, such as the study of Cultural Identity in Post-Colonial Literature, Film and Art with Robert; Self-Expression and Human Rights through Music and Poetry with Lisa; Pre-Hispanic Latin America with Girelle; Current Events and how the past connects to the present with Curtis; and The Greeks to The Renaissance with Harry.    


11th and 8th graders take U.S. History, and this year are happy to welcome Derrick Washington of the New York Historical Society into their classrooms, to look at primary documents and work with the resources of the museum to enrich their studies.  Seniors have a couple of new electives to choose from in social studies, including Jason's Global Issues, where they look at 20th & 21st Century problems and solutions, and AP Human Geography, taught by Maura Malarcher, Carol Gersmehl and Girelle Guzman. This course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth's surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences.  


Did you know? We recently discovered that while U.S. History is taught in 659 high schools in New York, only 31 NY high schools offer AP Human Geography!  We are proud of our Seniors who are taking on this rigorous course that will most certainly stand out on their college applications!

 The 2011 TRCS Marathon Scholarship Fundraiser

A special thanks from our marathon runners:


"Thank you to all of the TRCS friends and families who donated to the scholarship fund and to all of you who came out to support us as we ran. The crowds were amazing, it was a perfect day to run and we both had a great time racing and raising money for the school.  


If you didn't get the chance to send in a donation, you can still leave a gift at the office.   And if anyone out there felt inspired to join in, why not think about being part of the team and running next year.  If you're interested, please email Arabella at arabs@mindspring.com


It's a marathon effort that our High School students are putting in to their education. Let's show them that we are behind them all the way so that they may.... Live Wise and Run Smart."


Arabella Powell  and Janna Pistiner Ostroff     

Janna Ostroff, after the race


Money raised by Arabella and Janna is used for scholarships to our graduating seniors.  Historically, we have given a $1,000 Humanities Scholarship and a $1,000 Math & Science Scholarship.  So far this year's marathon runners have raised approximately $975.  Please help us reach our goal of $2,000.  If you would like to make a donation, please make checks payable to Renaissance Charter, with "Marathon Scholarship" in the memo line.  Thank You!   


 Senior Class Visit OWS, Zuccotti Park 

     by Nicholas Maniace  

The Seniors went to Zuccotti Park to interview Occupy Wall Street participants and observers, because our 12th grade class did a unit analyzing media coverage of the movement. We went there to get first-hand information from protesters to put in our op-eds. In English class we have been reading many news articles and op-eds about the movement from a wide range of perspectives. The reason for this was to expose possible biases and understand that writing is often opinionated.

riding the generator bike 


One thing that I personally found interesting at Occupy Wall Street was how there was a wide range of people with very different political beliefs. In a class discussion after our trip, some students said that they were surprised by how small the group in the occupied area was that day (a large group had gone off to a protest in another area). Others said that they were surprised that there was not really one united message or agenda: some people were calling for minor reforms, others called for an end to the current wars, and others wanted a complete restructuring of economy as well as other side issues. Some students were very impressed with the organization at Zuccotti Park. There was a food station, library, first aid station and a pair of bicycles used and run by volunteers to generate electricity of the occupiers. One really beautiful thing that I noticed on the way back to school was that students who were previously not very political were discussing and debating many political issues on the train.  It was a great first-hand experience.

Holiday Festival and Angel Tree Celebration
The holidays are just around the corner and TRCS is gearing up to spread the holiday spirit of giving with our Holiday Shoppe and Trim-A-Tree Festival to support the Angel Fund.  Our Family Festival will start things off on Friday, December 9th at 5:30 PM.  Join us for some hot chocolate, delicious treats and do a little holiday shopping.  We have wonderful gifts for the whole family, as well as decorations, holiday wrap and more.  Enjoy musical entertainment by our students and at 7 PM there will be a tree decorating ceremony honoring our Angel Fund donors.  This event is open to the public, so please tell your family and friends about it.  And remember, all proceeds go towards the "Angel Fund", whose mission is to ensure all students can participate in all things Renaissance regardless of need.  If you haven't yet donated to the Angel Fund this year, please join us at our "Trim a Tree Festival" or visit  http://www.renaissancecharter.org/support/donate and choose the "Angel Fund".
PTA News
All Fall Pictures have been distributed and Picture Retake day is Friday, December 16th.  If you are not satisfied with the picture you received, return the package and have another picture taken.  Additionally, if your child was absent, or forgot to bring in payment, Retake Day is the day to have their picture taken.  Order forms are available in the PTA office.  Any questions, contact Theresa by email: tagtwelve22@aol.com.

A big PTA  Shout Out and thank you to all who helped set up, cook, serve and clean up during our annual pasta night.  It was a fun evening and the Seniors thank everyone who showed up to help make the carnival a huge success.  Another great fundraiser was the book fair.  The parents who helped out where amazing.  Our Miss Chocolate was also another success-thank you Peggy for working on this.  We could not do any of these fundraisers without the help and support of our volunteers.

Please remember to come to our Holiday Shoppe.  It will start on December 9th and run the following week during lunch/recess periods for the children and at the December PTA meeting
.  We would like to wish all our parents, staff and students a peaceful holiday season.

Cheers to all, 
Your PTA Executive Board
Renaissance Rocks!

by Suzanne Arnold

In keeping with our
new initiative to make sure we acknowledge community leadership, random acts of kindness, citizenship, academic courage, academic excellence, and more, I want to share with you our November "Shout Outs". We are collecting the names of students throughout the school who have earned special notice from our community.  Thank you to all our teachers for providing names and support! For our students in grades 7-12 the shout outs are given over the intercom system during homeroom.  Our K-6 students hear their shout outs during lunch.

To Peggy Heeney and all of our families who showed up to carry the Renaissance Banner in the Halloween Parade!  


Genesis Castro, Tenzin Tharchain, Lea Kenworthey, Matthew Napoles,  

Amy Lligucota and Morgan Turnstull - for community service. 


1st Grade

Esteban Domingez - great helper and working independently

Nicolas - citizenship

Gaby Cerni - for kindness & generosity

Jack Goodwin - for being an excellent listener and great citizen


2nd Grade

Whole Class Rocks!

Chelsea Cosquillo Zumbana - for excellent work habits

Pepe Zeppeda - for excellent classroom citizenship


3rd Grade

Regina Chen & Roksana Hossain - for classroom helpers

Colin Gargan - for excellent line leader


4th Grade

Odalys Garate - classroom citizenship

Nickolas Chalen - meaningful contributions to discussions

Sage Gauthier - for asking important questions

Rayana Gavantes - always lending a helping hand to her teacher

Allyson Espinal & Antonio Peralta Avila displayed exemplary behavior


5th Grade

Amina Dupljak - being extremely helpful in the classroom

Shan Ara - being extremely helpful in the classroom

Emily Jerez - community leadership

Tyler Young - citizenship

Camilla Chen & Ali Jawwad - for consistent effort and hard work


6th Grade
Raphael & Matthew T. -  for helping a classmate organize himself so he could get to lunch sooner.
Karen Sepulveda - for her insightful writing with Great Books.
Melanie Mata -  for quickly picking up on school routines as a brand new student, and being on top of all of her assignments!


601 and 602 for awesome costumes and a fabulous Halloween party!!!!

And 601 for Awesome Jr. Great Books Inquiry!


Middle School student council:

Samten Ukyab, Luke Rogan, Sean Bradley, Corinne Stonebraker, Sarah Semple, Destiny Evans, Zahid Hasan, Julia Krutel - for leadership 


7th Grade

Tristan Doyle - community service, voluntarily cleaning up after the dance


8th Grade

Michelle Rillon - for honesty

Makeda Lewis - for leadership in putting the dance troop together


9th Grade

Saul Cortina - for community service

Richard Fernandez - for community leadership


10th Grade

Tenzin Samphel - for musicianship and leadership

Marilyn Arias - for endurance and talent

Yanesi Rivas, Ryan White, Janaka Delisio & Tenzin Dechen - for academic excellence 


11th Grade

Melvin Smith - for leadership


12th Grade

Jacque Wingate - for leadership

Wendy Heras - for awesome internship

Brianna Falconer - for daily helpfulness
Alumni Corner
The holidays are always a time for long-lost friends to visit, and Renaissance Alums are no exception! We were happy to welcome back many of our alums, including Santiago Ruiz, Shawnta Alston, Gregory Smith, Daniel Laverde, Sam Gauthier, Cesar Borja,
Shawnta Alston
Shawnta with Mama Marlene
Scott Brevda, Rachel Rush, Elijah and Sarah Hamilton, Nelson Ruiz, Alejandro Ossio, Shante Austin, Melissa Rodriguez, Carlos Bernal, Sajjad Hossain, Max Perez, Mabelly Guerrero, Karen Campos, Latrell Hayes, Malasia Martin, Jasmine Aponte, Kaui Williams, Dana Shepherd, Francois Nicholas, Peter Canteros, Chantel Dixon, Mike Quinonez and Rashel Rodriguez.  There may be more; please contact us and let us know what you are doing! 

roakes@renaissancecharter.org to give us an update.
TRCS Sports Desk


Renaissance celebrated with our HS Boys and Girls Soccer teams early this month, who are both the Division Champions in the NYC Charter School League!  The HS Boys also won the Citywide Championship.  Congratulations to Jorge and Alex  and all the mighty players!
Soccer Boys 2011Girls Volleyball is still going on, and the team will be playing through December, and Basketball season has just begun.  HS Boys are playing through the NYC PSAL, and HS Girls, MS Girls and MS Boys will be playing with the Charter School Athletic Association. 

The MS Boys will be playing in a pre-holiday tournament at John Jay College on December 17th.  That game is open to the public--stay tuned for more details! 
82nd Street Academics Parent Night

Dear Renaissance Family,


The Renaissance Charter School After School Program will be hosting a holiday/cultural awareness event on Wednesday, December 21st. We will have exhibitions of your child(ren)'s creations and invite you to see how the after school program has influenced the Renaissance population. Since it is a cultural event, I encourage the families of students to, not only attend, but to bring dishes and to wear clothing from their home countries. Our councilman, Daniel Dromm, will also be on hand as we recognize him for his continued generosity and support. We will have music and food at this event, as we celebrate the holidays and each other.  


We hope to see you there!

John Gardenhire, 

Program Director

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.

Upcoming Events:   

 December 7, 6:30 PM Board of Trustees Meeting 

 December 9, 5:30 PM Holiday Shoppe & Festival   

 December 16, 8:30-12:30 PM Fall Picture Re-Take Day 

 December 21, 6:00 PM 82SA After-School Parent Night 

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