TRCS Monthly NewsletterJANUARY 2012  
Spotlight On...Antibullying
Featured Article..
Rensizzle Week
Summer Camp
What's On Your Mind?
Renaissance Rocks!
Alumni Corner
PTA News
Sports Update
Helpful Hints and Cool LInks

Website Quick Links





World of Discovery Day Camp


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Happy New Year Renaissance Family!

The editors of the newsletter invite our Administrator of School Culture, Suzanne Arnold, to start off the year with a message to all families:


Here at the close of the first semester and the start of a calendar new year, it is valuable to take a look at what we have accomplished so far, in our new initiative to accentuate the positive! 


 As we move further away from reactive response to student needs and misbehavior; it is essential that we replace these previous responses with a positive, proactive set of actions.  These responses, that reinforce desired behavior and give recognition for the outstanding, unique, civic minded, compassionate, positive community actions that our students bring to our community, can be a very powerful motivator for all students. 


What a great example and goal to set for other students, who may be used to getting attention for negative behavior, and may think they are stuck with that identity.  With our new efforts of Shout Outs, assemblies, and recognition for standing up against bullying, our students have a tremendous opportunity to show us their best, to shine their own lights on all of their potential, and perhaps to reinvent themselves.   


What a great boon to all of our teachers to have the opportunity to focus on those students who always bring their best and do their best; to help them continue to give more and be more.  It is an opportunity to show students a more positive way to earn attention.   I am very excited about and encouraged to continue down this road, showing appreciation for initiative, citizenship, compassion, kindness, strength when the going gets tough, and the integrity to stand up for their classmates and community.  

Check out  "Renaissance Rocks!" below for the current Shout-Outs! 
Spotlight On...Anti-Bullying Event at Renaissance

Renaissance was one of the NYC schools chosen to host the launch of an Anti-Bullying campaign championed by Miss New York, Kaitlin Monte and NYS Senator Jeffrey Klein and NYS Assemblyman William Scarborough, who are proposing legislation to make cyber-bullying a crime.  They are traveling the state with Ms. Monte and cyberbullying expert Parry Aftab to meet with students and gather data to inform their efforts.  We are featured in the article in the Queens Chronicle, at http://www.qchron.com/news/western/sen-klein-pushes-anti-bullying-bill/article_ba12720f-8f96-5130-8308-7ef96f04c78c.html


They were joined by representatives from the UFT and the CSA, promoting the teachers' and administrators' union program called "Be BRAVE Against Bullying", in partnership with Respect for All.  The BRAVE confidential hotline for students is 212-709-3222 and more information can be found at www.uft.org/BRAVE.

Senator Klein and Parry Aftab have designed a brief 12-question online survey, "Click, Comment and Create Change." Renaissance students present at the assembly took the
survey, and others were encouraged to log on and voice their opinions during the last two week before the winter break. 


While school leaders, teachers and staff can oversee what goes on during the school day - the challenge becomes more complicated as students spend more and more time on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This initiative comes in the wake of the tragic suicides earlier this year by the 14-year-old Buffalo victim of cyberbullying, Jamey Rodemeyer, Massachusetts high school student Tyler Clementi, but not soon enough to prevent the death of Staten Island teen Amanda Cummings this last December.  We encourage parents and family members to speak to your children about this important issue, to be careful what they say online and be mindful of violent or hurtful words they may see on these sites, and tell what they see.


If your child has not completed the survey, please encourage them to do so at www.nycyberbullycensus.com  and find out more at http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senator-klein-idc-unveil-anti-cyberbullying-legislation.

Featured Article - Freedom Riders Workshops
Last spring Renaissance sent eight students, joining high school students from four other schools around New York (including our sister school, Innovation) to mark the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking civil rights moment called the "Freedom Rides."

FreedomRide 2011 

The trip followed the trail of the Freedom Riders, when blacks and whites came together on buses in the deep south, challenging segregation at a time when buses and bus stations were separated by color.


The 8 Freedom Riders are meeting bi-weekly with Ali Rosow and Carol Gersmehl to work on presentations which they will deliver to both the Middle School (February 10th) and the High School (February 17th). Presentations will include one which will encompass what the group did on the actual trip and give some history about the original Freedom Riders, and another on the history of Civil Rights.  They will show the PBS Documentary on the Riders.
We have invited our friend and an  original Freedom Rider Donna Garde, who we hope will participate in a question and answer with the students.  In addition, NY1's Budd Mishkin, who rode down with us on our journey through the South, is planning to attend on the 17th. The Freedom Riders are very excited to invite members of the community, parents, and friends to join for their Teach-back. They can not wait to share their experiences, and following the Freedom Rider morning for the High School, there will be a feast hosted by the Sophomore Class. 
Rensizzle Week - Let's Plan Together



Coming up this spring is the week we at Renaissance call our "Rensizzle Week", a chance for our 7th - 12th grade students and staff to pursue an educational experience over a full school week.  Students learn as much as they can about their chosen area of study by doing interdisciplinary and multi-sensory work.  The Rensizzle clusters are suggested by students and staff alike, and students are placed in one of their top 3 choices.  The clusters include academic, cultural, culinary, athletic, artistic and technological areas of study.  


In the past we were able to bring in outside consultants and paid professionals to enhance the students' experiences.  However, due to funding restrictions, we have had to cut back on this area.  We were able to run the program last year with the help of our faculty and staff, the use of volunteers and free programming.  We hope that you will consider being a team leader for one of student groups. You DO have something to offer.  Your talents need not only be artistic or athletic--our students love to cook, to sew and knit; there are students who want to build things, learn plumbing and engineering; try their hands at photography; learn all kinds of dance styles; discover Bollywood films and social justice documentaries...there is bound to be something you DO, you KNOW, and can SHARE.


We know it may be difficult to commit to 5 day-time workshops in a row, but even if you can commit to one, that will help us build a rich experience for our students.  Please contact roakes@renaissancecharter.org and let her know when you are available and what you would like to share with the students.  Please follow this link http://rensizzle.wikispaces.com/ to find out more about last year's great offerings.  If you cannot volunteer, but would like to add financial support, please follow this link  http://www.renaissancecharter.org/support/campaigns and click on "Rensizzle Project" to download a donation form.  Thank you for your support and we look forward to sharing your passion!


World Of Discovery Summer Day Camp

As most families know, it is never too soon to start thinking about summerWorld of Discovery Day Campcamp for your child.  We just heard about a great option located in Bayside that you might want to check out.  They feature door-to-door transportation, lunch, swimming instruction, sports, gymnastics, dance & drama, arts & crafts,  weekly trips and more.  Visit their website for details:  www.worldofdiscovery.org


What's On Your Mind?

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 Parental Involvement - What does it Mean?

Every school has expectations of their families.  We have heard of schools that do not let parents into the building without an appointment.  On the other end of the spectrum are schools who require families to sign an contract at the start of each year, agreeing to contribute at least 20 hours to the school that year.  In lieu of time, they can contribute $10 for each hour they miss.  Some of the things these schools ask for are working in the office making copies, handling mailing or phone calls; assisting in the classrooms; chaperoning; even helping to make repairs to the school.   

Other schools have a School-Parent Compact, which parents, students and teachers must sign.  Parents agree to get their child to school on time, attend school functions, assist their child with homework, and read school communications. Children agree to do their homework, follow school rules and complete assignments on time. The school agrees to provide a safe and supportive learning environment and do what ever is necessary to help every child learn the necessary state standards.

Renaissance has always had an open door policy and encourages parental involvement.  We are proud to say that many of the special programs and initiatives at the school were started by parents.  We keep our website up-to-date with information on everything that is going on at Renaissance and welcome any questions or suggestions that you may have.  While we do not demand that you give a certain amount of time to the school, we think you will find it very rewarding to be a part of Renaissance and your child's education.  If you have time, consider participating in Rensizzle week, or if you haven't been in a while, please consider attending the next PTA meeting.   The PTA runs many events during the year which raise important funds for the school, and they can always use some new people to help out.  (See PTA News below) It is the "family" atmosphere that has helped make Renaissance so successful and we think you will find your experience here fulfilling as well! 
Advocacy Day
Tuesday, February 7th is Charter School Advocacy Day.  Once again Renaissance will be sending representatives to Albany to hear all the latest information on charter schools in New York State, as well as to meet with legislators and talk about our successes and our hopes for the future of our school, and all charter schools.

This year the Charter Center is organizing the trip a little differently and we will only be taking a small group of parents to Albany.  We have submitted the names of all the assembly members who represent families in Renaissance in the hopes of getting meetings with them.  We are asking for volunteers to come with us to Albany and have a chance to speak with your representative.  If you are a constituent of any of the following assembly members and would like to join us, please contact peggyheeney08@gmail.com :
Assemblyman Moya, Assemblywoman Nolan, Assemblywoman Markey, Assemblywoman Simotas, Assemblyman Aubrey.

Transportation and lunch is provided and an information/prep session will be offered so that you are prepared for any meetings you attend.  We hope you can join us for this important day.
Renaissance Rocks!

The following are the shout outs for the end of December and the beginning of January:


Cluster One: The entire First Grade class for doing great on the spelling test!  Mimi Toomey for excellent work habits, Pepe Zepeda for being an excellent citizen in our classroom, Priya Verma for excellent work habits and for being a great class citizen, Remay Pemba for working hard to catch up. Helena Koffigoh and Shi Ying for making their first baskets as a Lady Knight, Sonya Boyko and Jasmine Heras for helping with the k-1 bus dismissal - you are a great help!  Rosemary Baez and Sonya Boyko for participation and effort in class, Ona Carranza for being a conscientious reader and moving up 3 levels! Nija Daniels for participating in class and sharing her thoughtful ideas!  


Cluster Two: Emmi Piro for scoring the first basket of the season as a MS Lady Knight, Students of the Month for Honesty: 7th Grade; Destiny Evans and Glenn Wagner, 8th Grade; Catherine Avear and Luke Rogan, MS Knights improve 2-0 with a win over Our World neighborhood ...... 30-15 Tamia Cutignola had 17pts, Charelle Childs had 9pts, Sarah Bradley had 4pts 6boards.  Tamia Cutignola  for scoring 27 and  Sara Bradley for scoring 23 points  in the first victory of the season vs IS 250  57-2 Tamia Cutignola and Sara Bradley for leadership on the court, Asalli Valentine for continued leadership at practice, Michelle Rillon for being very committed to Lady Knight Basketball, Mikal Matthews for initiative, Hakim Salih for responsibility.


Cluster Three: Manuela and Devin for courage and community leadership for their participation in the cyber bullying press conference, Ayana Vega and Sarah Osmond for integrity and bravery - you keep on rocking in sisters! All the ninth and tenth grade students who participated in the holiday decoration extravaganza!  You rock!  Shared goals and experience are extremely valuable.  Keep on rocking it and you will persevere! Kevin Escamilla for an outstanding essay on the Aztec Empire, Tenzen Dechen for compassion and tolerance, Don't ever forget! HS Lady Knights who start their season vs TAPCO on Monday, HS boys go for win number seven on Monday versus RFK, The Junior Class for having implemented a great Social Justice Day. Tatiana Dawkins for assisting with the 5-6 grade dance for the 82nd Street end of year celebration. Minah Whyte and Tenzing Ukyab, for their tireless dedication to organizing Social Justice day, 11th and 12th for awesome school spirit for those great holiday door decorations, thank you for your spirit and for including everyone in our community.  You rock.  Brianna Falconer for her first college acceptance! Ivan Ibanez - keep up the good work, Prerna Gupta got a full scholarship to York College of PA, Daisy Garate for always giving her best, James Jeffries, who has been chosen as a New Era Pinstripe Bowl 2011 MVP Scholar Athlete by Renaissance and the PSAL, Sara Romano, for helping the junior class with Social Justice day!  Woo Hoo!  Renaissance Rocks! 

Shout Outs!  from the Arts Teachers: To Eziquiel Urena for on-top-of-it musicianship, and to several students for being community caretakers:
Jessica Chamilco, Melvin Smith,  Sajjad Kazi, and Tylil Morton
were witnessed taking care of their community by cleaning up, returning chairs, and generally being mindful of their classrooms and common spaces even when the items did not belong to them.  


Special mention to Daniela Rios (11th Grade) for her wonderful performance in "Prime Poetry in Performance: Wish You Were Here", an original movement piece with text by Eugene Ionesco, as part of The Stella Adler Youth Outreach program, in December.  She is now embarking on her second semester of theatre training with this program, and we are very proud of her!


To all of our awesome teachers who take notice of the wonderful things our students do and for taking the time to ensure that those students get the appreciation and recognition they deserve.  Rock on!  

Alumni Corner

December and January are the months our alums return to visit, and we had the pleasure of talking with many of them.  We caught up with three of our young adults in particular.


Lisette Lopez (class of 2010) has won a prestigious internship with the art department of the Museum of Natural History, starting in January.  She will be helping build the figures in their displays.  In addition she works for the Schubert Organization, as an usher for several Broadway plays.  


Matthew Stachnik, (class of 2009) is a Business major at Syracuse University, and will be leaving soon to attend a semester abroad in Spain.


Arjun Sharma (class of 2008) is a student at the American University of Antigua, studying Medicine at Manipal University in Manipal, near Bangalore, which is the capital of the southern state of Karnataka in India.  Manipal University is near the city of Mangalore. Arjun is in the midst of his 4-year medical program in India, at the end of which he will return to the University in Antigua to take the exams for a US Medical License. 


Congratulations, Alums! We are very proud of all of you, and wish you the very best in your exciting endeavors.  We know there are many more of you out there, and we'd love to feature all of you in this column.  Please email roakes@renaissancecharter.org with updates and photos.

82SA-TRCS After-School Update
by John Gardenhire

Last month, the 82nd Street Academics After School program hosted its first holiday celebration. Many parents showed their support as they watched the participants exhibit their arts & crafts projects as well as musical and writing talents. Exhibits of what they produced within their arts & crafts classes lined one side of the auditorium. Those present heard poems which were written by the students and were treated to a video which depicted what a typical after school day was like. The students also wrote and produced and short film entitled "Monster School". The event was also the stage for the 82nd Street Academics organization to present our councilman, Danny Dromm, with a plaque in recognition of his outstanding service to our community.

Not to be outdone, our students also received awards for their accomplishments. The following is a list of the recipients and their awards:

Alexandria Marston - Best Behavior/Attitude

Samuel Baez - Excellent Attendance

David Rodriguez - Most Mature

Powell Yap - Most Mature

Joseph Hur - Best Attendance & Behavior 

Marilyn Arias - Work Ethic Excellence

Gina Delgado - Work Ethic Excellence

Congratulations to all!

PTA News
Your PTA Executive Board hopes you all had an enjoyable holiday season! We are ready to get back into full swing with many events coming up for the rest of the school year and we hope you will be able to participate and, if possible, help out!  One of our most popular events for the past couple of years has been the Mardi Gras party.  Funds from this event have gone to help cover the costs for many of the special class trips our students take.  This year we are looking for a new parent to help coordinate this event, tentatively scheduled for February 10th.  Please contact co-president Geri Neary at geriQN@aol.com for more details.

This year will also be an important voting year for the PTA as many of the executive board leaders are parents of seniors, and  will be leaving the school  next year.  Please consider stepping up and running for one of the positions.  Come to the next PTA meeting, Wednesday, January 18th at 7:15 pm, for more information.   
A reminder to senior class parents:  The final payment for the senior trip to Honors Haven is due January 20th.  Please send this in so final arrangements can be made for the trip taking place February 3rd-5th.  Thank you!  
Sports Update
Three cheers for the Renaissance Knights Boys Varsity Basketball Team, who are currently in 1st place in their division, and have broken the Renaissance record for most wins in a season.  They are currently  8-1.  With  more games left to play in the next two weeks, now would be a great time to catch a game and root for our team!  This week they defeated RFK High and Scholars Academy and play August Martin Thursday.  There is even a game on January 16th,  the MLK Classic at Pathways HS. We play Newcomers @ 11am, so come on out!

And our ladies are proving to be tough competitors as well. The middle school girls Lady Knights have started their season 3-0 with recent victories over  IS 250 (Score 57-2), Our World Neighborhood Charter School (30 -15) and IS 61 (22-6).   The high school girls Lady Knights, recenty started their season with a victory over Aviation 50-16.  Their next game will be this week against Hyde Leadership in the Bronx.

basketballThe boys middle school basketball players are just starting their season and playing a practice game against IS 126. You can go to psal.org and look up the profile for Renaissance and see all the stats and upcoming games for the boys HS Varsity team. 


Three cheers for all the Renaissance Knights, ladies and gents!

     Upcoming Dates and Events:


     Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - January 16, School Closed

     CSG Meeting January 18, 5-7 p.m.

     PTA General Meeting - January 18, 7:15 p.m.

     New York State Regents Exams - January 24-27

     No School for HS students - January 30

     BOT Meeting - February 1

     Advocacy Day - February 7

     MS Freedom Rider Presentation - February 10 

     CSG Meeting - February 15, 5-7 p.m.

     PTA General Meeting - February 15, 7:15 p.m.

     Latin American Festival - February 17

     HS Freedom Rider Presentation - February 17
     Midwinter Recess, No School - February 20-24         

Helpful Hints and Cool Links

Read this article from the Charter Center's newsletter on Parental Involvement:


The link on the Parents page of our website called "Supporting Your Child":

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 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.

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