TRCS Monthly NewsletterOCTOBER, 2012 
Con Edison Grant
Stephanie Montalvo
Chess at TRCS
Save the Date
What's On Your Mind?
Renaissance Rocks!
Featured Article..
Alumni Corner
Spotlight On....
Cluster Updates
TRCS Sports Desk
PTA News
Helpful Hints and Cool LInks

Website Quick Links




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Fall is truly here, and the season of abundance is the perfect background to our busy, project-filled lives here at Renaissance.  Enjoy the cooler weather and the changing colors while your students delve into learning activities that challenge their brains and engage their sensibilities.  We are planning for our new and improved Rensizzle week called Rensizzle: Explore NYC! Check out our featured story for more information on those exciting plans.
Con Edison Celebrates its Support of TRCS Garden
 Con Edison "Power of Giving" Program Support

Renaissance received a visit from Con Edison representatives Al Harris and Carol Conslato, who came to take a look at what the support of Con Ed has meant to our agriculture class. They were happy to see the work that has been done to build wonderful exterior planting boxes, as well as the extension to the greenhouse. Joining in on the visit were Agriculture teacher Riaad Etheridge and some of his students, who did a wonderful job explaining the work they did in the garden last semester.


Also on hand were Principal Stacey Gauthier, who engaged the students in a lively discussion, and Earth Science teacher Dan Fanelli, who was very excited to show off the new weather station purchased with Con Ed funds. This will be mounted on the rooftop and feed live weather data to our science labs.


Con Edison has supported Renaissance numerous times over the years and we thank them once again for their continued support!


Tutor.com Online Tutoring!


Attention Parents: Your child has FREE access to Tutor.com this year for help with his or her homework, studying, writing assignments and more. Tutors are available to help in 16+ subjects in math, science, social studies and English. Available from home, school or mobile device. Students can get a boost with their classes at  tutor.com/trcs.


Important note: student logins to Tutor.com have changed from last year. Students must now sign in with a personalized username which has been structured like: firstname.lastnameYEAR. YEAR means the 4-digit year your child will graduate from high school (for example: john.doe2021). The universal password is "tutorme".


This is a wonderful tool you should be urging your child to use on a regular basis.   

Renaissance Student Scores on the Field and Off
High Schooler Stephanie Montalvo, who suffered total hearing loss in one ear as a child, was given a new lease on life recently when she, along with 74 other hearing loss patients, met with BIll Austin, founder and CEO of Starkey Hearing Technologies.  They all met at an event at Yankee Stadium where Mr. Austin and his team of  'Hearing Angels' outfitted the patients with new, state-of-the-art hearing aids. 

After being fitted, a brief hearing test confirmed that Stephanie could clearly hear out of both ears for the first time in eight years!  "I feel like I'm a newborn baby, being able to hear again," Stephanie told NBC News Correspondent
Chelsea Clinton, shortly after being fitted.  She then met with Yankee player Alex Rodriguez and manager Joe Girardi, who gave her some batting tips!  Last week NBC Nightly news came to Renaissance to film Stephanie doing what she loves: playing baseball.  To read more about this story and view video of Stephanie's interview, go to  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/.
Chess at Renaissance
Every Friday for over 13 years, Miguel Iniguez has come to Renaissance to teach students how to master the art of chess.  Students from K-5th grades learn the basics of the game to the finer points of strategies and planning.  If you think it is unusual for a NYC public school to teach chess, you are right! 

Our founding principal Monte Joffee partnered Renaissance with the organization "Chess in the Schools" in 1999.  We were lucky enough to be paired with Miguel, a Jackson Hts. resident.  He worked here for about two years, then he left Chess in the Schools to start ChessKidsNY.  Although we had other teachers come in, Miguel was sorely missed.  Parent Mark Satinoff, whose son Gabe graduated in 2009, called Miguel and asked him to come work directly for Renaissance, and he has been here ever since. 
One of the hallmarks of having Miguel is that he believes in teaching children as soon as possible.  Where most schools will start chess in 3rd grade, Miguel starts them in kindergarten. Learning chess at an early age has many educational benefits.  Chess teaches concentration, the ability to think and plan ahead, visual memory and so much more - and all in a social setting.  If you are interested in having your child take their "game" to the net level, you might want to consider having them join the Chess Club.  You can contact Miguel directly for info on fees, schedule, etc., at migini@gmail.com.  For more info on the benefits of chess for kids, please follow the link:
Save This Date!
Pleascelebratione mark your calendars for Friday, April 5, 2013 when we will be celebrating Renaissance - "20 Years of Developing Leaders for the Renaissance of New York".  Yes, it's our birthday and we want everyone to celebrate with us.  So pass the word to anyone and everyone you know who has ever been a part of the Renaissance experience.  

Along with dinner and dancing, we will be presenting a retrospective on the many milestones of Renaissance on its' journey to becoming the successful school it is today, s
o you don't want to miss it!

We would love to share your Renaissance story.  If you have any photos, event programs, etc. you would like to share, please feel free to email them to Peggy at pheeney@renaissancecharter.org or stop by TRCS on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, from 10:00-2:30 to drop them off.  More information about tickets, location
etc. to follow!

What's On Your Mind?  October - National Disability Awareness Month  by Kelly Goodwin 

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In October, we observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month, paying tribute to the accomplishments of the men and women with disabilities whose work helps keep the nation's economy strong and by reaffirming their commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.

Some of the world's most famous people overcame their disabilities to go onto make everlasting contributions to the world.

Helen Keller - Disability: Blind and Deaf
Helen Keller was an American author, political activist and lecturer. She was the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller's teacher, Annie Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become known worldwide through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Sullivan taught Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with d-o-l-l for the doll that she had brought her as a present. A prolific author, Keller was well traveled and was outspoken in her opposition to war. She campaigned for women's suffrage, workers' rights, and socialism, as well as many other progressive causes. In 1920, she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Keller and Sullivan traveled to over 39 countries, becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. She met every US President from Cleveland to Johnson and was friends with famous figures such as Alexander Bell, Charlie Chaplin, and Mark Twain.

Ludwig van Beethoven - Disability: Deaf
Beethoven is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in history. He gave his first public performance as a pianist when he was only 8 years old. He studied in Vienna under the guidance of Mozart. By his mid-twenties he had earned a name for himself as a great pianist known for unpredictable and brilliant improvisations. In the year 1796 Beethoven began losing his hearing. In spite of his illness he immersed himself in his work and created some of the greatest works of in the history of music including: the 9th Symphony, the 5th Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, the Late Quartets, and his Missa Solemnis. And he achieved all this despite being completely deaf for the last 25 years or so of his life.

Vincent Van Gogh - Disability: Mental Illness
Van Gogh was a Dutch painter, regarded as one of the greatest painters the world has ever seen. His work has immensely contributed to the foundations of modern art. In his 10 year painting career he produced 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings. Some of his paintings today are the most expensive: Irises was sold for $53.9 Million and Portrait of Doctor Gachet was sold for $82.5 Million.  Van Gogh suffered depression, and in 1889 was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and died the following year.

Albert Einstein - Disability: Dyslexia/learning disability
Albert Einstein, the Physicist, had a learning disability and did not speak
until age 3. He had a very difficult time doing math in school. It was also
very hard for him to express himself through writing. He was best known for his theory of relativity and he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his
services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.
They and so many others serve as a reminder that having a disability does not mean that you cannot accomplish what you set out to do.

Renaissance Rocks!
by Suzanne Arnold, School Culture and Student Support

Greetings Renaissance Families! 

We are off to a great start this school year with many happenings to share. Our Kindergarten through fifth grade students enjoyed a fabulous performance and ensuing workshops by story-teller, Jonathan Kruk.  Kindergarten through fifth grades also participated in a bullying prevention assembly by The Power Of One. First through Fifth grade students also received workshops on sensitivity and attention.  I attended a two-day, on site training with our wonderful recess supervisors provided by Playworks.  This is great program with a philosophy of fun, respect, and caring.  We believe this program will make recess even more fun, and will help build caring and respect deeper into our community.  Our teachers are working with Ramapo for Children, an organizations that works with schools to create happy, respectful learning environments. 

These events and activities will help us continue to grow and evolve in this, our 20th anniversary year! Woohoo!  Renaissance Rocks!
Featured Article - Rensizzle: Explore NY!

Renaissance's famous week of project-based learning is almost here.  This year we are actually have two "Rensizzles" - one early in the fall called "Explore NY" (November 25-29) which will feature many clusters doing deep investigation of some feature of NYC, and one in the spring (2-3 days in June) called "Rensizzle FUN" which will bring back the ever popular sporty Rensizzles (soccer, rugby, cycling) and fun in the parks.


Rensizzle: Explore NY Rensizzle ARTS got started last week when staff members got together to revisit the Rensizzle mission and do some investigating of their own by reading and discussing an article by Joseph Renzulli, an American educational psychologist who developed the "Schoolwide Enrichment Model" that inspired our week of exploratory learning.    


On Monday all of the 7th-10th grade advisories and 11th & 12th grade homerooms took an hour to talk about Rensizzle, and the students were given the opportunity to submit surveys that asked them their thoughts about Rensizzle past and future, and their ideas for cluster-investigations, trips and activities.  We are busy compiling all these ideas to prepare the final list of groups.  So far we are seeing a lot of interest in skyscrapers,  bridges, rivers, wetlands, culinary, geology, dance, galleries, museums and animal care... the groups are going to be fantastic! 

Alumni Corner

2012 alumni Vilma Gamarra paid a visit to Renaissance recently, in part to thank us for our support in helping her to get to Thialand last summer as part of the Global Teens project. Vilma worked with Global Teens for two years, fundraising and participating in all their events in order to go to South Africa 2 summers ago.  

YMCA Global Teens is a leadership development and service learning program that engages teenagers (ages 14-18 for overseas & ages 12-14 for domestic programs) in a year-long empowering international experience culminating with a 10 day to 2 1/2 week service abroad trip during July and August. The program includes deep personal growth & discovery, cultural travel, meaningful service, home stay experiences, and interaction with teens from around the globe.  


We wish her good luck as she continues her education at Goucher College, in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Spotlight On... Sarah Berenstain and Kelly Bourgal -
                            4th Grade Teaching Team
 Sarah and Kelly are teaching 4th grade together in room 306.  Kelly Bourgal is the ICT Teacher (see last month's newsletter to find out more about that designation, "ICT") and Sarah takes the reins as the General Ed teacher. 

Kelly was born and raised in Nassau County, Long Island, and recently graduated Hofstra University  with a Bachelor of Arts in both Early Childhood and Childhood education. After many years of teaching swimming lessons to a diverse population of children with special needs, she realized her passion for teaching was rooted within the field of special education. Kelly writes "I returned to Hofstra University in 2011 to obtain my Master's of Science in Special Education. As I begin this exciting new endeavor in my teaching career, I am looking forward to what the future holds at Renaissance and I cannot wait to share my love of learning with each and every one of my students!"     

Sarah graduated from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas with a B.A. in English Writing and Rhetoric and then later from the Art of Teaching program at Sarah Lawrence College with an M.S. Ed.  She is also a visual artist and, as she writes, has "always been fascinated by the connection between art and learning. I am thrilled to be a part of the Renaissance community. I appreciate how so many of you have already reached out to us new folks!"


Welcome Sarah & Kelly! 

Cluster Updates

Cluster One welcomed Storyteller Jonathan
Kruk on Friday, September 21, who told 3 interactive stories to all the students in the auditorium, and then visited the 1st through 3rd grade classes to do a workshop focused on one of the stories. The assembly was lively and fun, with students helping tell the stories by acting out some of the characters, adding their voices and movements for special sound and character effects.

Once in the classroom, Jonathan led the children in a discussion of their favorite parts from the stories, recreating some of those events and characters.  Students then draw and write about a possible new ending or how they would solve a problem presented in the story.  He will be coming back for the 4th and 5th graders soon! 

Jonathan is coming back on Halloween! 5th through 8th grades are eagerly awaiting his chilling re-telling of "The Headless Horseman (The Legend of Ichabod Crane)" by Washington Irving.  Spooky!!

The Middle School Student Council held elections this week and have voted in new student body representatives for the following offices:
President/CSG Representative: Sean Bradley
Co-Vice Presidents: Matthieu Lagagneur and Daniel Malagon
Secretary: Ana Llorens
Treasurer: Andres Aguirre
Party and Trips
Student Concerns
Peace Patrol
Erick Herrera
Sydney Hamilton
Carlos Flores
Driss Ayadi
Congratulations to the newly elected officials and the entire middle school student body for taking part in the democratic process!
TRCS Sports Desk


Renaissance sports teams are off and running with a strong showing for athletics this year.   
Both boys and girls Soccer teams are currently in first place in there divisions.  The boys  are  4-0-1, with wins over Hyde Leadership, Believe North, Cristo-Rey High School and most recently a tie with ICE.  The girls are 2-1-2 , with a recent win over Green Dot and a tie with Health Opportunity.  Captain Posada had 3 goals in these recent games. 

HS Volleyball season started October 10th, with TRCS vs Bronx Prep.  Their record is 1-1 with a recent win over AECI.  

Upcoming Games 
Oct. 16 HS Girls Soccer vs. Bronx Prep @ Wagner Park 4:30pm

Oct. 19 HS Girls Volleyball vs Bronx
 Lighthouse @ Bronx Lighthouse

Please come cheer on the Renaissance Knights teams!
PTA News - Meet Your PTA Reps
Each month we will introduce the new PTA Executive Board.  We start with our Co-Presidents.

Lillian Chen (PTA Co-President, 7-12)

When I was a little girl in Taiwan, my dream was to be a stay at home mom with 3 or 4 kids. As I got older, I still wanted to be a mom first and fore-
most, but I also wanted a career.  Very few people know this but my top 3 picks for a career choice were teacher, police officer and circus clown (yep, circus clown.) The last thing I wanted was to be in the business world.  Now I'm a single working mom with one child and a job in the 'dreaded' business world. My daughter Ana is in the 7th grade and I could not be prouder of her.  I have been PTA Class Parent, Cluster Rep, Recording Secretary, Co-President K-6 and now Co-President 7-12.  I spend so much time being involved at TRCS, that some of Ana's friends asked me "Don't you have a job?". When I responded "Of course, why do you ask?", they said "because you're always here".  I believe that the best way to learn is to raise your hand and get involved.

Niza Martin (PTA Co-President, K-6)  

I was born on March 5th in Brooklyn, NY.   I am the proud mother of Malasia and Jailynn. I've worked as a Paralegal for the last 20 years before being laid off last August.   I am presently enrolled full-time at the Business Informatics Center in Valley Stream LI  where I am studying Occupational Studies, majoring in Court Reporting. I've been an active parent here at TRCS for the last 7 years. I am a Hello Kitty collector - you name it, I have it.  My favorite colors are black, purple and turquoise. I am also currently planning on opening a multi-purpose recreational center in the South Jamaica area. 

Upcoming Events:    


Wednesday Oct. 17th K-12 Dismissal at 11:40 AM

Thursday, Oct. 18th PTA Meeting 6:30-8:00 PM

Monday-Friday, Oct. 22-26, Scholastic Book Fair

Friday, Oct. 26th, Picture Day grades K-11

Monday-Friday, Oct. 29th-Nov. 2nd Spirit Week

Tuesday, Oct. 30th MIddle School Halloween Dance

Wednesday, Oct. 31st Haunted House & Costume Parade 

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