TRCS Monthly NewsletterMAY 2012 
Mission & Vision
World Premiere
Award Winning Teachers
Featured Article..
Spotlight On....
Cluster Updates
TRCS Sports Desk
Alumni Corner
Helpful Hints and Cool LInks

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What's New at TRCS!
Rensizzle Week has come and gone, but the memories linger on--the smell of the wonderful dishes being created in the culinary cluster, learning to ride a horse at the Jamaica Bay stables, finding out that we have the right stuff for a PSAL Rugby team, and all the trips and special events students experienced throughout the week!  Rensizzle is just one of the things that make our school unique, and we were reminded of it by not one, but two newspapers last week!  We are proud to be listed as one of the 100 most diverse schools in the city! Check out the New York Times piece entitled "A Portrait of Segregation in NYC Schools"  here.  In addition, the Daily News chose to profile Renaissance for a special summer US News and World Report supplement on the best high schools in Queens and NYC. They sent a reporter and photographer on the final day of Rensizzle. They were particularly impressed with our innovative programming and want to come back again to highlight more of our work.  Read on to see more pix and stories from our wonderful school!
Mission and Vision: The CSG Retreat
On Wednesday, May 16, our Collaborative School Governance committee, and other interested teachers, staff, board members parents students and alumnimet in the auditorium for an all day retreat.  csg retreat2
The purpose of the retreat was to wrap up the work of the past year, which focused on creating action items for the goals and objectives of our Comprehensize Educatio Plan (CEP), revising our mission and vision in these dynamic times and looking toward our work next year.

The retreat began with a welcome by CSG Chairperson, Everett Boyd, who also presented the goals, objectives and action items for our CEP. This was followed by Emily Oliapuram's 8th grade social studies students presenting their "Ideal School" project which included small group discussions on three essential questions: 1) What are the qualities of an ideal school?, 2) What parts of Renaissance makes our school an ideal school and / or a unique school? and 3) What do you think gets in the way of our school being an ideal school? Next, three alumni Vivian Layne, Keith Byam and Enrique Serrano, our College Bound Coordinator, Ana Falla Riff, and our Internship Coordinator, Girelle Guzman gave a presentation on College Readiness which included our alumni discussing how they felt Renaissance prepared them for life in college.

csg retreat 2012
8th Grade Presenters

Ana and Girelle delivered a data-based presentation on what colleges are looking for in their new admits and how we are performing on college readiness metrics.  

All of these thought-provoking presentations were followed by an inspirational speech and call to action by founding Principal and Board Vice Chairperson Monte Joffee. In a follow-up email to Principal Stacey Gauthier, Dr. Joffee said, "The students were so impressive! I think the conversations were excellent and the format brought out the relevant topics." These sentiments were shared by Board Chairperson and Renaissance founding teacher, Sandra Geyer, who also attended the morning session.

In the afternoon, the group synthesized the morning and generated a list of the areas that "jumped out to us". At the conclusion of the day, Stacey thanked everyone for their participation in this very important process (which is also a part of our charter goals) and said that, "Today was truly an example of collaborative governance and distributed leadership."

The committee plans to publish a report on the retreat and it will be posted on our website.

Please note that all members of our school community are welcome and encouraged to attend CSG meetings.

World Premiere at Renaissance
Agni Varsha (Fire and Rain), is an opera by Vanraj Bhatia, one of India's most prolific and accomplished composers and music directors.  At age 84, Vanraj Bhatia, a household name in his native Mumbai, has written what he considers his magnum opus; an opera based on an English translation of a portion of the ancient Mahabharata.  The world premiere of the first act was presented in a concert version at Renaissance on May 11th and 12th in our Indian Opera interns
auditorium, and included the participation of several of our students.  Stephen Ruck, Sam Benitez, Kimberly Ortega and Larissa Petrez sang in the chorus, Andrew Nicolas presided as narrator, and Prerna Gupta was the administrative intern to director Judith Kellock.  We applaud our students for showing the courage and willingness to tackle such complicated music, and to work in a medium so out of their normal comfort range.  The opera got a lot of attention in the press, listed as an event of note in the New York Times and Time Out New York.
Award-Winning Teachers!
Miyo Tubridy has won an NEA grant to bring Spoken Word poetry to her high school ELA curriculum.  In collaboration with teaching artist Kahlil Almustafa, the grant will support a project called "Poetry For Change".  
"I believe if human beings could truly see themselves and voice their truths, we would live in a world of more dreams fulfilled," writes Kahlil.  Poetry for Change is a 7-week Personal Inquiry and Poetry Project combining poetry and research as a vehicle for promoting change in students' lives, their community and society.  Senior ELA students will study the form and craft of poetry, analyze historicial poets, read poems from other young people, write their own poetry and learn performance techniques.  Student anthologies will be produced at the end.  We jump-started the project with the Rensizzle Week Spoken Word cluster last week.  Visit the Rensizzle wiki to see their group poem and video (to be uploaded soon.)  The group also MC'd the Rensizzle presentations in the auditorium, interspersing their poetry between presentations.  Congratulations Miyo, Kahlil and student-poets!Rensizzle-SpWd

As we wrote in the last email, Ram Buenaventura was 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.  He was supported by Dan Fanelli, Pierina Arias and Marlen Castro from Renaissance at the awards dinner at Astoria World Manor on May 12, 2012.  Congratulations again, Ram!
ram teaching award

We are very proud of our teachers! 
Featured Article - Rensizzle Week, May 7-11, 2012

Rensizzle Week was back at Renaissance the week of May 7-11, and our school was a hive of activity.  This year we had 21 different learning clusters for our 7th-12th graders to dig into, and students enjoyed experiences never before attempted at Renaissance, including Horseback Riding, Military Strategy/Careers, Animal Care, Girls Sports
Rensizzle Judo     Rensizzle Girls Sports  Cosmetology, Ultimate Frisbee and Judo!  We brought in professional teaching artists to work with students including Margaret Phelen from Rensizzle ARTS Rensizzle MusicChildren's Museum of the Arts working with the ARTS (School Beautification) Group, Chef Joe Ford wi
th the Culinary Group, and Khalil Almustafa with Spoken Word.  College Explorations visited several colleges in the area     Rensizzle Culinaryand NYC Museums & Landmark group took students to unique spaces a little off the beaten path.  The Fashion group designed a particular outfit and walked the walk on the runway on presentation day. 

Rensizzle Animal Care
Animal Care group's hamsters

  Old favorites Cycling and Sports Variety tried some new routes and new sports.  Rugby was back, and we are excited to hear we have enough talent to start a team next year!  The Robotics team crammed all week for the big competition last weekend.   The Photography group made photo magic, the Music group made music, Hip Hop put poetry and beats together and Video Production made several small films available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube.  The trips, movies, poetry, photos and more can be see on our Rensizzle wiki site: http://rensizzle.wikispaces.com/.  Check back frequently, as groups are still uploading their achievements!    

In the rest of the school, K-6 classes gamely took on the week without their Spanish, Recess and Arts teachers, so teachers welcomed teaching artists and worked on special projects throughout the week.  K-4 classrooms worked with Architect Howard Stern on built environment projects, the 4th grade went on a camping trip, the 5th & 6th grades worked with Carnegie Hall American Roots choral director, Professor Chantal Wright the week before, Professor Chantal Wright w/6th gradeand traveled to Harlem to hear the American Roots concert and some of our students got to perform an original song.  During Rensizzle Week 5th & 6th worked with Metropolitan Opera Guild artist Karlan  on 5th grade mini-musicals, and 6th grade Myths. The 6th grade performed their Myths on Wednesday of Rensizzle for parents and peers, and the 5th grade will perform theirs in June.

Thank you to all you tireless teachers--those guiding Rensizzle groups and those staying with classrooms--to our school aides for taking on recess and coverages, and to John Gardenhire, our after-school supervisor, for working with a group!  You all helped make this Rensizzle one of our best yet. 


Spotlight On...Our Spring Production!
Our Drama Elective class went far into the avant garde this year with their chosen play, The Devil Inside, by David Lindsey-Abaire.  The wild comedy features themes of extreme revenge, obsessive love, Russian literature and laundromats! Actors worked with challenging props and characters, extreme circumstances and fake blood. Great stuff!devil inside poster
There were two casts for the play, directed by Curtis Anderson, each performing twice over 2 afternoons and evenings.  This year also featured a fully stocked technical crew under the direction of Rebekah Slotnick, Everett Boyd and Joe Ford in a new Wednesday afternoon elective that trained students in sound and light design and operation. 
devil inside cast & crew 

Cluster Updates

Cluster 1 Updates:

John: The end of our math unit included an introduction to capacity, which was the perfect segue into making (measuring) cookies for our moms for Mother's Day. We have begun to include some phonics-based books for free reading during Literacy Centers. We wrote about what we liked most from the puppet show we saw recently. We also wrote about a recent trip to the Rubin Museum of Art.

SuhJin: First graders learned about what architects do and then got to design and build their own mini-buildings and structures! First graders are also becoming stronger and more independent readers; we are reading independently for at least 30 minutes every day!

Daniela: Our class created various New York buildings with our resident architect, Howard Stern. It was a great experience working with partners to create our own structures.

3rd grade geodomesMichael and Janet: We created geodesic domes using geometric shapes like isosceles and equalateral traingles, pentagons and patterns in order to form a dome. We went to the  Hall of Science,  and completed science journals that explored microbes, physics and velocity. We are looking forward to our Big Apple Circus trip on May 31st. June 8th we will go to the Queen's Zoo.

Renay: Our class created bridges with Howard the Architect. We enjoyed water testing and composting at the National Park Service.

Thank you Rebekah Oakes for setting us up with the Star Lab from the Hall of Science (at left)! We were hoping to see real constellations during our camping trip to Jamaica Bay, but it was way too cloudy.  We are now getting ready for the NY Science test.

5th Grade: 501 and 502 recently worked with Karlan, a resident artist from  the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Groups created mini-musicals that will be presented in June. Class 501 and 502 will be taking a 5th grade end of the year trip to Philadelphia on June 13th! They will see many historic sites, including the Liberty Bell, Franklin Court, Independence Hall and more. History will really "come alive" when they see an IMAX presentation at the Franklin Institute. They will end their day relaxing and reflecting at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Spanish: Our students are working on their end of the year summative projects. We just had a puppet show and are incorporating LOTE and CORE strandards to our units.

Other Clusters:
Rensizzle consumed most of our time, but in the meantime, Everett's Stage Band Elective class distinguished themselves during a city-wide concert as part of the Jazz Project @ KupferbergCenter for the Performing Arts at Queens College on Tuesday, April 24.


Middle and High School students are preparing for their arts exhibitions coming up -- see calendar of events below.  8th graders are preparing for the Earth Science regents and the 8th grade Science exam coming up.  They are looking forward to their end of year trip! 


High  School students have been taking their AP exams in Psychology, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, World History, Biology and Human Geography.  They are also prepping for Regents exams, and our juniors will be starting a new course to prep for the ACT exam, supported by our colleagues at 82SA.  Thanks to John Gardenhire for coordinating this new program! 

ELL: NYSESLAT testing for K-12 ELL students is going on now. Results will indicate whether students will continue to receive services next year.
TRCS Sports Desk


 The HS and MS girls basketball ended their season with a trip to Prudential Center where they saw a preseason game of the WNBA:  Chicago Sky vs  NY Liberty.  They had a great time!
The 5th and 6th grade Co-Ed basketball team have upcoming match-ups with Promise 2 , Opportunity , and Carl Icahn 2 charter schools. 
The MS Baseball team just recently won two in a row:  6-1 over IS 235    and 5-4 over IS 10. 
The HS Softball team is on a two game winning streak as well. Recent wins over Believe South (10-0)  and Hyde Lions (18-1).  Sara Semple had a grandslam in the contest vs Hyde Lions! 
The HS baseball team finished 5-10 ( fourth in the division.)  Congratulations Athletes!
Alumni Corner

The spring always brings out our alumni as they finish their studies and come by to say hello.  Mike Quinonez (class of 2009) stopped by to see Jose Mane and the Hip Hop galumni Mollyroup during Rensizzle. Alumni Mike Quinonez   






Rebekah Slotnick brought another alum to our attention on the cover the Adelphi University Arts and Sciences Magazine: Adelphi sophomore dance major Molly Rappold, class of 2010.  


A college-bound presentation at the CSG Retreat (above) featured three of our alums, Vivienne Layne, (class of 2007, graduate of Swarthmore 2011 and heading for her Master's at McGuill University in  

 KeithVivienneGirelle  Enrique Serano 

Canada, Keith Byam, (class of 2011, a freshman at St. John's University), shown at left with another alum, our internship coordinator Girelle Guzman. Joining them was Enrique Serrano (class of 2009, a junior at Lehman College). They each spoke eloquently about what Renaissance did well to prepare them for the realities of college, and what we can do better.  


We got a chance to sit with Keith after the presentation. Keith is majoring in Legal Studies.  This summer he is traveling to Botswana and Zimbabwe as part of a humanitarian aid program sponsored by Somarela Fund, who partners with Beyond the Boroughs National Scholarship Fund.  Keith is a scholarship recipient of Beyond the Boroughs, and will join other college and high school students in this service learning trip.  Each year The Somarela Fund takes a group of students to Africa to bolster and sustain humanitarian aid and social services. On past trips students helped build a school, planted seeds as a part of a highway beautification project, and interacted with youth at various community centers and schools.  The organization sends over a large container of clothing and other goods, and Keith and the rest of the student ambassadors have been collecting a duffle bag each of clothing, in order to distribute to the children and youth they work with.


We are so proud of our alumni.  It gives us great satisfaction to hear how you are navigating the globe and getting on with your lives and your studies.  Do keep in touch! 

Upcoming Events:   

  • 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 29-31: MS Trip to Boston 
  • 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 4: 4th & 8th Grade NYS Science Exam
  • June 6: Clerical Half-Day, K-8, 11:40 AM Dismissal 
  • June 7: Staff Development, No School for Students
  • June 7: Senior Prom 
  • June 8: HS Honors Breakfast and Field Day
  • June 12: Senior Awards Night, 6-8 PM  
  • June 13-21: New York State Regents Exams 
  • June 13: Board of Trustees Meeting, 6:45 PM 
  • June 14: K-2 and 4 Dance Presentation (daytime)
  • June 14: Clerical Half-Day, K-8, 11:40 AM Dismissal 
  • June 15: K-2, and 4 Dance Presentation (evening)    
  • June 15: PTA Carnival, 6-8 PM
  • June 20: Middle School Articulation for 6th Graders
  • June 20: PTA Garden Party, 6-8 PM
  • June 21: 8th Grade Prom at Bruno's
  • June 22: HS Teacher Retreat - No School for HS Students
  • June 26: Middle School Stepping Up Ceremony, 10:00 AM
  • June 27: Last Day for All Students, Early Dismissal, 11:40 AM 


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.

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