TRCS Monthly NewsletterAugust, 2012 
What's On Your Mind?
Featured Article..
PTA News
Alumni Corner
Cluster Updates
Helpful Hints and Cool LInks

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Enjoy the last few days of summer...
the "Welcome Back to School" packet has been emailed to our parents, and the staff is busy preparing for the 2012-2013 school year.  Summer is a chance to recharge those creative batteries and dig deeper into planning for the year ahead.  Renaissance has hosted professional development workshops, Regents review, and a busy front office all summer long, admitting new students, preparing the schedules, classes and professional practice that will serve our students. 
We look forward to seeing our students on Monday, September 10, and our parents on Curriculum Nights, September 19 and 20.  But before then, really,

Enjoy the last few days of summer!
The Welcome Back Packet is Ready!
What we in the office call the "Summer Mailing" is finished and has been emailed to all of our families.  If you did not receive an email with 3 attachments to download, read, and in some cases print and return to school, please call the office to make sure we have your correct email address, and make arrangements to either come by for a paper copy or request it be emailed to you.  It is chock full of information that will help you and your child get the most of out Renaissance.

The PTA also sent out their Welcome Packet in an email, so check to make sure you have those documents as well.   In all, you should have received emails with the following attachments:
  • TRCS.2012 Summer Mailing (the narrative)
  • TRCS.2012 Forms (forms to print, fill-out and return with your child on Monday, September 10)
  • 2012 Afterschool Apps (applications for both the K-4 After-school Program, and the 5th-10th grade program run by 82nd Street Academics)
  • PTA Forms (Membership forms, fliers and announcements from your PTA Executive Board.)  

Believe me, everything you will want to know about your child's Renaissance experience is in the mailing, so get it, read it and return it! 

What's On Your Mind?

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 New Schedule for 7th-10th Graders

If you have opened your Summer Mailing, the Welcome Back packet emailed to parents this past week, you may be wondering why your 7th-10th grader starts class 10 minutes earlier than the rest of the school? 


Renaissance takes its mission, of helping to mold humanistic, global citizens and creative leaders, very seriously.  As such, we are constantly looking for ways to building time in the day to reinforce that message and help each individual student reach their full potential.


In an effort to ensure that every student has at least one adult in the building that supports their overall growth, 7th-10th grades will begin the day with a for-credit homeroom and advisory period from 8:00 AM to 8:20 AM.  We are using the acclaimed Developmental Designs advisory curriculum that helps students navigate the school successfully and supports college and life readiness.  The groups are small: each advisory has about 13 students and one advisor who has been trained in the Developmental Designs method and curriculum. The curriculum will include activities that promote community and social-emotional skill-building, and advisors will be able to advise students individually and as a group, through academic and life challenges.  


Remember, this is a for-credit mini-class.  Please help your student be on time every day!  


Advisories start in the 6th grade, and for 6th, 11th and 12th, we have made time in the school day for these important group meetings. 

Featured Article - Renaissance Alum Living the Mission


 Global citizen and Renaissance grad Keith Byam, class of 2011 and a sophomore at St. John's University, traveled to Botswana this past July on a service mission with a group called the Leadership Exchange, to benefit their partner organization Bana Ba Letsatsi.  BBL runs a center that supports over 250 vulnerable, at-risk and orphaned children and youths.  Some of their children have never been to school or dropped out early; others suffer physical and sexual abuse, abuse drugs and alcohol, work underage, beg and/or lack parental care. BBL offers a place of safety for education and counseling, providing food, medical attention, clothes, showers, training, haircuts and meeting any other needs encountered by the children.   


I interviewed Keith over email a few weeks ago to find out about his experiences.   I asked him about how he and the team prepared for their service, and what they did when they got there.  "Before we went to Botswana the entire group had a 4-day orientation at Williams College in Williams, Massachusetts.  The group was comprised of high school students from Riverdale Country School and college students.  We took part in team building exercises and learned about Botswana's history.


Keith Byam-Botswana1  While we were in Botswana we were involved in various community service jobs.  Our main focus was on Bana Ba Letsatsi.  As a group we did beautification jobs within BBL and the community, such as installing chicken-wire to prevent animals from getting into the garden, built a laundry room, fixed the dining area, made cement steps to walk to the outdoor sheds, painted a mural and fixed a see-saw.  Within the community we planted trees, worked at a day-care center, and tutored at a school that helps drop-outs get back to school. On weekends we got to go on safaris, looking at animals in their natural habitat."   When I asked Keith whether the reality of the trip matched his expectations he said, "When I first received the invitation I was beyond excited.  I have always enjoyed giving back to communities and traveling (like the NOLA trip when I was at Renaissance), so to bring the best of both worlds together was great.  I knew that I would see living conditions that I would not believe without seeing and a lot of animals.  I was shocked at how friendly the people in Botswana were.  To be with them, you would almost believe they have no worries because they are always so happy.  We would see kids who don't know when they are going to get a meal or where they will sleep, who would have the biggest smiles on their faces.  It made me really think about my own worries and complaints.  What do I worry about? Not having enough money for the latest sneaker.  These kids don't know if they are going to eat again after lunch at BBL."



Keith is hopeful that Renaissance high school students will want to become involved with Leadership Exchange, and that we might see a group from Renaissance go to Botswana next summer.  "I feel that everything about the trip makes me want to go back next summer, from the people that I met and got to know to working with the kids that I got to see every day.  In New York a lot of us have problems and we show the stress through our grey hairs, bad attitutes, and worry-line faces.  In Botswana people have bigger problems than us, and you would never know it from their faces."

If you want to see more from Keith's trip, see our photo site:   Renaissance Photo Site/Special Events
Renaissance "Capital Campaign for Technology"

As you know, Renaissance is always striving to offer our students the most that we can. We feel fortunate to have been able to develop many unique programs at our school, ones which we feel confident cannot be found at other NYC public schools. Many of these programs are made possible because of the support of you, our families. Funds raised by the PTA help to bring extra enrichment programs to the school, as well as the purchase of much needed equipment. We have also been fortunate to have received support from some great foundations and corporations. The Patrina Foundation is supporting Renaissance for the next four years to expand the Sadie Nash Young Women's Leadership Program at Renaissance for our high school girls. Consolidated Edison has given us much funding for the expansion of our rooftop garden and a grant from Grow NYC allowed us to expand our greenhouse, giving our agriculture students much more room to experiment with growing new crops.


Realizing how quickly technology changes, and how important it will be for our students to have a strong understanding of the use of technology hardware and software, we would like to plan a complete overhaul of our computers and computer related equipment in order to outfit our student media centers with the most up-to-date equipment. This will become exceedingly more important as we try to move our students towards a more paperless platform, such as ePortfolios which will enable them to save important school work from year to year. Many of our classrooms also need new computers and more whiteboards for the teachers.


In order to take on this project, Renaissance will be kicking off its' first ever "Capital Campaign". Capital Campaigns differ from many of the fund-raisers we have done in the past, which are usually one time events such as the Scholastic Book Fair or Mardi Gras Carnival. These campaigns often run for three years or more to support big-ticket items such as costly equipment, and will consist of many different types of fund-raising including direct appeals (mailings), special events, grants and more.


So over the next couple of years you will probably hear and see many reminders about this project, including the  

 "Thermometer" showing how close we are getting to our goal. A major kickoff to the project will be our 20th Anniversary celebration, taking place in March, so keep on the lookout for more information on that. In the meantime, if you would like to show your support for Renaissance, consider becoming a "Friend of Renaissance". By making a donation at a certain level, you will receive Renaissance merchandise and admission to some of our fun events during the upcoming year. Visit http://www.renaissancecharter.org/support/opportunities to make your donation and place your order!

PTA News
Your PTA Executive Board has been working hard this summer in preparation for the new school year. We have some new fundraising ideas (i.e., World's Finest Chocolate) and we are bringing back some favorites (i.e., Pasta Night and the Scholastic Book Fair).

Funds raised by the PTA have helped to support school initiatives,
classrooms, sports and the arts. We have been able to purchase Smart Boards for classroom use and provided funding for the 8th Grade Stepping-Up Ceremony and High School Gifts and so much more. The funds go to enrich the lives of all of our children.

With that being said, we will have plenty of opportunity for parents to volunteer throughout the year. The children need your support and your time. We are interested in hearing from you. Please make sure to open the PTA Welcome Packet that was sent to you through
School Messenger in an email.  If you did not receive this email, you can call the office to request a paper copy, or go to our website at http://www.renaissancecharter.org/parents.html/pta.com.

Our first PTA meeting will be combined with Curriculum Night.  We will welcome K-8 families on Wednesday, September 19, and 9-12 families on Thursday, September 20. We will be voting on two positions:

1) Parent Rep for the Board of Trustees - Chester Hicks has been nominated for the position, if anyone else is interested in running for the position please email Lillian Chen (PTA Co-President 7-12) at chenlil@nyc.rr.com as soon as possible to be added to the agenda

2) We will be taking nominations and voting for a Recording Secretary for the PTA Executive Board

We will also be hosting a welcome breakfast for our new families on Monday, September 10 on the first floor so please stop by to introduce yourselves and meet members of the Executive Board including some of our Cluster Reps.

We look forward to meeting and working with all of our families throughout the coming year.

TRCS PTA Executive Board
What Did You Do This Summer?
Ram and his familRam
y (including Raphael, 7th grade) had a grand family reunion in Canada to celebrate his mom's 70th birthday. They have been in the cities of Mississauga, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec.

The picture shows Ram in a unique geometric playground at a drive-in movie.

What will happen if he crawls around a surface of a giant Mobius Strip? Forgot what that is? Google it! 

Also heading up to Canada to visit family were Peggy and son Luc (who sta
rts Middle School this year).  They had a wonderful time, spending a week sailing on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, dropping anchor to do some swimming.  Later on they headed down river to where the Hudson River flows through the Adirondack Mountains.  There they visited the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves (home of the largest marble cave entrance in the eastern U.S.), did some hiking on the Adirondack Trail and went tubing down the river.

One of our newest teachers, Athena Angerhauser--hired recently to teach HS Math and give Special Education services--went to Hawaii for the first time.  You can see why she wishes she was still there! 
Our principal Stacey and her family are on a cruise up in Alaska.  Knowing her love of geography, she will probably come back with a lot of great stories.  Here is a picture son Samuel (one of our alumni) posted to the Renaissance facebook page:

As more of our faculty and staff return, we will post some more updates.  If you would like to share your summer adventures with us, please email

Cluster Updates

Check our website at http://www.renaissancecharter.org/parents.html/pta.com/notices, to see if your child's teacher has posted the supply lists for the coming year.  Summer homework assignments are also posted on this page.

Upcoming Events:     

  • September 10 - First Day of School
  • September 17 - Rosh Hashanah, No School
  • September 19 - K-8 Curriculum Night & PTA Meeting
  • September 20 - 9-12 Curriculum Night & PTA Meeting
  • September 26 - Yom Kippur, No School 
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