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TRCS Monthly NewsletterAPRIL 2012  
Articles
Announcments...
Congratlations!
Student Advocate
What's On Your Mind?
Renaissance Rocks!
Featured Article..
Spotlight On....
Cluster Updates
TRCS Sports Desk
PTA News
Alumni Corner
Helpful Hints and Cool LInks

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What's New at TRCS!

  April nestIt's finally spring, and we hope you are enjoying  the sunshine, the flowers, and the lengthening of days.  We need those lengthening days here at Renaissance because we have SO MUCH going on!  From all the arts exhibitions coming up, parent workshops in arts and how to support your student; the 3rd-8th grade exams, Rensizzle Week planning, Regents exams prep to the final projects coming due... There aren't enough hours in the day!  We had to put a stop to this email before it got too long--but we'll be back in May! 

Proud Announcements!
We are very proud and pleased to announce that our principal, Stacey Gauthier, has been chosen to be part of the 2012 cohort of distinguished school leaders that has been selected into the Cahn Fellows Program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Stacey joins 23 other school leaders from New York City and Chicago, and is the only charter school leader in this cohort.

The mission of the Cahn Fellows Program is to strengthen the public school system by honoring and investing in its most effective school leaders.  After a rigorous screening process including analyzing three years of performance and Quality Review data, reviewing recommendations and personal statements, interviewing candidates and visiting schools, the selection committee, which is comprised of educators from CEI-PEA, New Visions, the Leadership Academy, Teachers College and Teachers College alumni, chose Stacey to join colleagues from the boroughs of New York City, Newark and Chicago.  The fellows represent "all school levels, more than 20,000 students and 153 years of experience and are characterized by their commitment to school improvement, intellectual curiosity and their desire to positively contribute to the public school system", as the press release announced. 

 

Stacey has taken on this commitment, which will include a leadership challenge to be chosen, that will positively impact student learning at Renaissance. She must also mentor an aspiring principal from within our building, and has selected middle school teacher and Teaching & Learning Co-Coordinator Dan Fanelli, who is also one of the NYC Center for Charter Schools' Emerging Leader Fellows, to help sustain the initiative coming out of the challenge project. Stacey will join the network of principals, and the supportive cadre of Teachers College faculty and staff as they go about their work next school year, and will present at the June conference to share what they've learned with a wider network of school leaders.  Congratulations, Stacey! 

 

Congratulations Continued!
Middle School Math teacher and Teaching & Learning Co-Coordinator Ram Buenaventura has been honored by being chosen as an  
"Ulirang Guro" (Model Teacher) for the Middle School category of the Association of Filipino Teachers in America (AFTA). Ram was ranked 1st in the middle school category out of 23 Filipino teachers who were nominated.
 
All awardees will be honored at a cocktail hour and dinner at Astoria World Manor on May 12, 2012, from 1:00-6:00 PM.  Please contact Ram for details if you would like to attend in support of Ram.  Tickets are $75 in advance or $90 at the door.

We will be gathering together personal shout-outs to Ram and taking up a collection for an ad for the event's program, so if you would like to send a personal note to Ram or make a donation, please email roakes@renaissancecharter.org as soon as possible.

We at Renaissance think Ram certainly embodies the kind of teacher the Association describes as someone who believes, as we do:

To accomplish great things, we must not only dream but also act,
Not only plan but also believe!  Congratulations Ram!
A Letter from President Obama

It seems we have a budding advocate in our midst, or perhaps a future politician.  Renaissance third grader Gaurav Gupta was disturbed over some news he heard - talk of schools extending the school year could mean a shorter summer vacation.  Gaurav feels it is important for kids to have a break over the summer and he decided to take his concerns right to the top.  The top of the United States, that is.  

 

He wrote a letter to President Obama telling him that summer vacations should not be shortened because everyone needs to "recharge their batteries" to be ready for a new school year.  Gaurav received a response from the president, thanking him for his interest in his school and education, as well as a cute picture of BO, the FIrst Dog!  Bravo for speaking out Guarav!

 

What's On Your Mind?  Special Education Today 

thought bubble
 Peggy Heeney attended a workshop for Parents and School Leaders regarding the state of Special Education at The New York Center for Charter Schools, and reported back to us:

The history of Special Education in public schools in the United States is a fairly short one.  In 1899, educator Elizabeth Farrell began teaching in NYC and was the first to organize a dedicated class for "ungraded" students.  These could be children that had been in trouble with the police, to children that were diagnosed as "dull, stupid or retarded".  She was the first to see that these children needed their own individual education program and much of what is still used in special education today comes from her practices. By the 1940's only about 12% of children with disabilities received some form of special education.  In 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional.   

 

Using the 14th Amendment to show that discrimination was an illegal practice, this decision set a precedent for future discrimination cases in education. By the 1960's more court cases set the stage for federal legislation for individuals with disabilities. In 1975 Congress passed The Education for All Handicapped Children Act.  Since then there have been amendments and improvements upon the act to include a wider scope of children served (ADHD, autism, traumatic brain injury) and include more services (IEP, annual goals).

 

Under the law, charter schools must serve a comparable percentage of students with disabilities as their local districts.  Charter schools are their own LEA (Local Educational Agency).  However, for special education, they are not.  The CSE (Committee on Special Education) office of the school district in which the charter school is located is responsible for the evaluation/placement of students suspected of or identified with disabilities.  They conduct the IEP meetings and arrange for the related services.  Charter schools can hire certified Special Education teachers and social workers or arrange for CSE to provide the services with contracted agencies.

 

Some of the newer, small charter schools are, unfortunately, not really equipped to handle students with IEPs, depending on what services are needed.  Unfortunately, we also sometimes hear of schools that try to shepherd these students out of their building for various reasons.  Renaissance, through collaboration with the CSE, has had a lot of success with children with IEPs.  There are many different categories of disabilities, including: speech or language impairment, hearing impairments, visual impairments, autism or general learning disabilities. The first step to finding out if a child qualifies for special education services will start with a parent/guardian or teacher requesting an evaluation.  As these can sometimes take a couple of months to finalize, if you feel that your child might be in need of an evaluation, please think about arranging this as soon as possible, so that, if needed, an IEP can be in place at the start of the new school year.   

 

Please call the school office if you have any questions regarding Special Education at TRCS. And don't forget, we will be offering a workshop with specialist Elaine Lerner for parents of children diagnosed with ADHD on May 18th at 6:30 PM.  Please RSVP to peggyheeney08@gmail.com to reserve a spot.

Renaissance Rocks!
Suzanne changed her style this month, getting back to her musical roots, and singing her shout-outs! 

We heard shout-outs from teachers all over the school to students who are helpful, hard-working, willing to take big risks in their learning, learn new skills like power point, share their beautiful voices, and write wonderful stories!  They tell of kindnesses and sacrifices, of efforts made and leadership shown. 

Our art teachers shout out students for singing shout-outs2
exceptional cooperation and focus, creativity, willingness, and enthusiasm in dance, for great music rehearsals and players who show their soul and passion, for art students who help beautify our school with their work.

A big thank you came from middle and high-school teachers to students who stayed to be time-keepers at parent-teacher conferences, and for students who helped clean, organize and finalize bulletin boards before our inspection.

Download the document, with names proudly displayed, on our website at:
Featured Article - After School Health Fair

On Friday, April 20th, the 82nd Street Academics After-School Program hosted its first health fair. Students competed in exercise competitions which introduced squats, push-ups, crunches and other exercises into their lives. Students made healthy foods and drinks which were distributed to all in attendance. Another part of the night was spent watching dance performances, listening to health-oriented poems and a puppet show, and viewing a bullying-themed public service announcement, all of which were student-produced. The night also was made special with the inclusion of local Pearle Vision and I Smile Dental representatives.

      

The students built a Vegetable Park, showed off their Stepping, prepared healthy food and presented their PSA in a power-point presentation!  Job Well Done, everyone!  

Spotlight On...
The IDEAL SCHOOL, According to the 8th Grade
Renaissance 8th graders, as part of Emily Oliapuram's Social Studies class, were assigned a project to come up with their ideal school.  Working in groups, the teams came up with a name, mission and goal for each school, and had to envision and create a model for the physical layout of the building, highlighting what was most important to them in gaining the best education they could imagine.  Members of the school administration and parents were invited to view the projects as presented by the students before spring break.  The presentation we attended was hosted by Samuel Baez, and the teams proudly displayed their models with names like "The Karamchand Peace School", "Mid-West Science Academy" and "Rearview High School", whose motto is "Accidents Expected, No Excuses Accepted." 

Stacey was so impressed that she has invited the students to present the "Best of the Ideal Schools" to our Collaborative School Governance Committee in May during their day-long retreat.  Students have compiled a list of common denominators for creating an Ideal School, and our CSG will discuss how we can incorporate their vision into our future. 
ideal school project 2 As might be expected of our creative, active middle-schoolers, we saw models that featured acres of outdoor space, multiple gyms, fantastic food courts, fully-equipped theatres and science labs and libraries--even museum-quality art pieces and books in the social-studies labs!

Emily's student teacher, Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor, is working on a video of the in-class presentations as well as putting together an activism unit with the 8th Grade which focuses on being of agents of change in their school community.  We look forward to the presentation to the CSG, and congratulate all on the great work!

Around the School 

Visitors from California:

Daniela's second grade had visitors from California last month; students from Soka University of America, a small liberal arts college in Aliso Viejo.  The students came east on a service project, and spent the day teaching our 2nd graders about CaliforniaSoka Univ visitorsThey are completing our non-fiction unit and are now experts on penguins.  They finished reading Mr. Popper's Penguins and will be watching the movie to see how it compares to the book! 

 

5th Grade - Congratulations to Maribel for getting so many globes for your class through the Donorchoose.org program!  Students engaged in a debate between the Loyalists and the Patriots in their unit on the Revolutionary War.  Both fifth grade classes are looking foward to working with the Met Opera Guild artist on our songs! 

10th grade global lab:  Four students from Daniella's second grade class joined Lisa's 10th Global Lab in our recording studio. Engineer, Joe

Ford, set up the mics and recorded Liam Collins, Elliot Nieva, Destiny Ortiz and Ysabella Aquino as they sang along to the chorus of the student composition, "Who's to Blame" a response to child labor and slavery in the cocoa industry.         

 global lab 4girls

 

 

 

 Coming soon, the link to the song!

 

Renaissance's National Honor Society (NHS) induction ceremony was held on Friday, March 29, 2012. The NHS Advisers, Lisa Burns-Maida and Liz Perez, aided by the NHS Officers, Saoussan Elghouass, Erica Cawthon, Fiordaliz Guerrero and Vilma Gamarra welcomed 27 tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders to the Society. Our principal Stacey gave the opening remarks, and the keynote speaker was Jose Mane, Renaissance Alum and HS Humanities teacher.

 NHS 2012

The NHS is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, membership in NHS honors those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character-all important Renaissance traits.

 

NHS Senior inductees were Michelle Diaz, Prerna Gupta, James Jeffries, Jennifer Jimenez, CJ Joseph, Stephen Ruck, Tenzing Wangmo and Sabrina Yap. Our junior inductees were Michael Carvajal, Eury Liriano, Melissa Reinhardt, Alec Stachnik, Minah Whyte and Ivo Testi, and our sophomore inductees were Marilyn Arias, Alina Benedetto, Dana Bong, Zahava Cortez, Tenzin Dechen, Kevin Escamilla, Roger Lliguicota, Stephanie Maung, Yaneysi, Rivas, Rulaiha Taylor, Kelsang Tsowang, Tenzing N. Ukyab and Ryan White. Congratulations to all!

 

The advisers want to especially thank Mary Sugrue and Fran Smith for helping make the evening's ceremony and celebratory dinner successful.

 

 

Download the entire "April Cluster Update" document from our website at  http://www.renaissancecharter.org/parents.html/cluster

TRCS Sports Desk

sports

 

The school year may be winding down, but baseball and softball season is just getting into the swing of it. For the first time in 7 years, we are welcoming back a girls High School softball team, with participants from 8th-12t grades. They won their first game against Bronx Prep 18-0, with R. Taylor pitching a complete game shut out. It might be time to bring back professional women's baseball!

 

The boys High School baseball team is 3-4 in league play. Wagner Mendoza hasn't allowed a run in his two starts and is 2-0. Mark Rodriguez is leading the team in hitting with a .400 batting average.

 

The boys Middle School baseball team's first game and opening season is scheduled for Friday, April 20, 2012, at 4PM against  DaVanci - I.S 61Q at Whitey Ford Field/Hellgate. We have 3 returning players and 14 newcomers who are excited to be part of the Renaissance Knights Middle School Baseball team and are ready to contribute to a winning season.

 

Our elementary 5th & 6th grade basketball team is still playing. Their next upcoming game is against Carl Icahn. Please come out to watch and support any or all of our teams if you can!

PTA News
PTA
Please do not forget that the next few PTA meetings are so important.  April 25th we will be taking nominations for our incoming 2012-2013 Executive Board and elections will be held on the 16th of May.  Our final meeting on June 20th is our annual rooftop garden party!

The PTA will also be hosting its annual Teacher Appreciation Day on June 6th.  This is a 1/2 day for K-8 students, and the luncheon will be starting at 11:30.  If you are available, we can use help with either setting up before hand, helping during the luncheon, or clean-up.  Also, we would appreciate any donations of food, beverage or desserts.  You can contact co-presidents Geri  
(geriQN@aol.com) or Theresa (tagtwelve22@aol.com) for further details or to volunteer your time or services.  Thank you!
Alumni Corner

We had a visit from Daniel Sanchez, class of 2006, who graduated with a BA in Film Studies from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana in 2010.  Daniel talked with us about his experience at DePauw, as a NYC kid adjusting to the tiny town of Greencastle and the campus life at DePauw.  He ended up having a great experience, all in all, and has gone on to work in the performing arts industry; spending the summer after graduation working for an arts organization in Brooklyn, and from there to Bolivia where he shot film for a documentary.  Back in the states he is working with Eurica Media Lab, getting experience as a Production Assistant on films such as "A Gifted Man" and 'Mirror, Mirror", and "NYC 22" for CBS TV.  Daniel came back to Renaissance to make arrangements to use our school as the setting for the movie he is producing from a script he wrote, which will take place this July.  Congrats Daniel-we're excited to be part of your endeavors!

Helpful Hints and Cool Links

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

(http://www.renaissancecharter.org/parents.html/support_child.com) 

 

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:      

  • April 17th: "Taming of the Shrew" trip, 9-10 Theatre & 11th Gr
  • April 17-19: 3rd-8th Grade ELA Exams
  • April 25-27: 3rd-8th Grade Math Exams
  • April 25: PTA Meeting, 7:15 PM
  • April 27: Middle School Bowling Trip
  • May 2: 5th & 6th Grade American Roots Concert 
  • May 2: BOT Meeting, 6:45 PM 
  • Friday, May 4th: "Romeo and Juliet" at TRCS for 7th & 8th 
  • Friday, May 4th: Mother's Day Pasta Dinner, 6:00 PM
  • May 7-11: RENSIZZLE WEEK
  • May 14-18: 6th Grade Nature's Classroom 
  • May 15: 3rd Grade Trip to Hall of Science
  • May 16: CSG Retreat, 9:00-3:00 PM
  • May 22: Internship Program Celebration, 6:00 PM 
  • May 24: Middle School Arts Presentations (evening)
  • May 25: Middle School Arts Presentation (daytime)
  • May 28: Memorial Day, No School 
  • May 30: 3rd Grade Theatre Presentation (day & eve)
  • May 31: 10 & 11 Theatre Presentation (evening)
  • June 1: 9-11 Music & Arts Presentation; 9th Theatre
  • June 14: K-2 and 4 Dance Presentation (daytime
  • June 15: K-2, and 4 Dance Presentation (evening) 

 

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!

Sincerely,

The Renaissance Charter School