TRCS Monthly Newsletter
January 2014      
This Semester
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Renaissance Rocks!
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Our students were busy right up until the holiday break, and there's lots more happening right now! Renaissance was featured in a Charter School Public Awareness Campaign in the latest public awareness campaign from the New York City Charter School Center: "There's more to the charter school story..." Our video highlights the many ways that charter schools strengthen the public education system and benefit high-need communities across New York City. See the video featuring Renaissance and our community partnerships and leadership program here!

Read on to find out what some families did over the holiday break, as well as to find out about some old Renaissance traditions and some great new projects..... 
Angel Fund Thanks You!
       Our angel fundraising efforts were aided by many Renaissance Angels this year, including the awesome angels roaming the hallways on December 19th, collecting a dollar (or more) from everyone in the building!

       In addition to the PTA sponsored International Potluck, the Holiday Shoppe was set up in the cafeteria during this last week of school, run by Peggy, Kalliope, and all the cafeteria staff. 

       And finally, cluster one's Culture Bubble (see below), charged parents, staff and older students $1 to visit their awesome exhibit--all proceeds going to the Angel Fund.  Thank you to all who contributed to this important Renaissance fund!
Elementary Multicultural Museum
culture bubble1
       On Friday, December 20th our elementary students invited friends and families to visit the gym and experience the multicultural museum in the fabulous "Culture Bubble" created using artwork that the students drew on transparent plastic windows, depicting their family holiday traditions.

       The bubble was crafted by cluster 1 teachers out of black plastic and held aloft by an ordinary box fan. 

      It was a wonderfully innovative, exciting museum to walk through and students happily pointed out their artwork and explained their traditions. It was terrific exhibition of our diverse, multicultural Renaissance family. 

Bravo Cluster One! 

What Were U Up 2 This Holiday Season?

       Maarika (mother of Nooa and Lumi) Kuusisto, Lumi Kuusisto (6th Grader), Hilary and Paul Rogan (parents of Luke and Brennan) and Jim Stonebraker (father of Corinne and Jonas) rang in 2014 with a plunge into the icy ocean off Coney Island.

       The group of five joined the members of the Coney Island Polar Bear for the club's annual New Year's Day splash. The Polar Bear club has hosted the annual dip since 1903.  Maarika, a native of Finland, organized the group who were jumping in for the first time. They all had a great time and look forward to - maybe - doing it again next year!


      5th grader Kyree Wingate spent part of his vacation in Orlando, Florida with his neighbor, Kyle O'Quinn, who is now a NBA player for the Orlando Magic.  Kyle graduated from Campus Magnet H.S. in 2008 with a full athletic scholarship to Norfolk State. While at Norfolk State Kyle earned several athletic awards and was called the "King of Queens" by the Daily News when he led Norfolk State to a historic win over No. 2 seed University of Missouri  in the 2012 NCAA March Madness tournament.  Kyle graduated from Norfolk State in 2012 with a BA degree.  He knows that he will not be a basketball player forever and intends on becoming a Guidance Counselor after basketball.  

      Kyle gave Kyree one of the best Christmas/Birthday presents a kid could ask for, an experience I'm sure he will never forget.  Kyree appeared on television as one of the
Orlando Magic Honorary Ball Kids at the December 18, 2013 Orlando Magic vs. Utah Jazz game.  While in Orlando he meet several NBA players and was allowed to tour the Orlando Magic's weight room, practice facilities, go to Chaplin with the team before the start of several games and shoot hoops on an actual NBA basketball court. 





   It wouldn't be normal to go to Orlando without going to Disney World.  Kyree went to Magic Kingdom and Sea World with several Magic players, Kyle #2, Maurice Harkless (Moe Harkless is also from Queens, attending Forest Hills H.S.) #21, and Victor Oladipo #5.Not only was this an exciting fun trip for Kyree it also allowed him to realize that playing for the NBA is not all fun and games, it's Kyle's job.  He has to get up early every morning for scheduled practices & meetings, see a nutritionist and follow rules.





Francisco & Marissa Sosa spent much time with family members.  Their family extends their best wishes for a Happy New Year to everyone at Renaissance! 










     7th grader Luc Papineau and mom Peggy visited family in Quebec,  Canada and had a winter wonderland vacation.  With a few feet of snow, they were able to enjoy a lot of outdoor activities.


       A snowshoe hike through the woods was rewarded with some great sledding 

















      Here Luc is on a bit of a downhill part of a cross-country ski trail.  He skied a couple of miles every day he
went, working off some of those holiday goodies!  With 3 feet of new snow since the New Year, they are looking forward to returning again for winter break in February. 

        2nd grader Samantha Pravettoni and family also went skiing, opting for some downhill action in the Poconos.  Here Sam does a little night skiing.

       Sam and brother Marcus climbed a giant snow hill at Camelback Mountain  after the Hercules snow storm.
Renaissance Student Wins Posse Scholarship
        Rulaiha Taylor, a senior at Renaissance, made it through the final round of the Posse Scholarship and was awarded a full scholastic scholarship to Dickinson College worth over $100,000!  Posse Scholarships are very competitive, as you can imagine, as candidates must go through a long recruitment process, where they need to demonstrate positive team skills, academic persistence and a commitment to making a difference both in their own lives and in those of their communities.   Here is her story:

       "Renaissance has been my second home since I started kindergarten in 2001. I am so grateful to have been selected through lottery, If it weren't for Renaissance I don't know who I would be today. My teachers throughout the years have mentored me in both my academic and social lives. They pushed me to go the extra mile, study hard and keep focus on my academics. Even when times were rough, they always stuck by my side and I couldn't be more grateful for them all.

       All of my hard work over the years has finally paid off. I am humbled to announce that out of 3,800 high school students that were nominated in New York City, I have been chosen as one of ten Dickinson College Posse Scholars for the class of 2018.The first semester of my senior year was very challenging. Balancing a rigorous College Now Psychology 101 course at Queens College, calculus, AP biology and AP English was a nightmare. It feels good to say that I will be the first in my family to achieve a bachelors degree. I am still looking for other scholarships to cover room and board fees.  I plan to major in Biochemistry  and Molecular Biology and minor in African or Women & Gender Studies. My dreams of becoming a Medical Examiner feel more realistic now than ever before. I can honestly say that hard work pays off!"


       We are extremely proud of Rulaiha, and we expect great things from her in the years to come.  We look forward to hearing from her as she continues her journey.
1st and 2nd Grade Authors
       On Wednesday December 18th, our 1st and 2nd grade classes celebrated the original stories they wrote by having a book reading party.  Family members were invited and in the Suh Jin's 1st grade class each child sat in the "author's chair" and read his or her original story book.

      Children were able
to write about any topic.  Some of the things they wrote about were dreams they had, or activities they did at home.  After, they celebrated with family and friends.  In 1st grade everyone enjoyed juice boxes and muffins.

     Many of our staff and administration also made visits to the classes to hear the great stories our students wrote.

     In Daniela's second grade class, students read aloud from their seats and everyone toasted to "good writing" with a glass of milk!

Middle School Festival of Lights

        Middle School students brought back a former Renaissance holiday tradition on Thursday, December 19 -- the multi-cultural Festival of Lights presentations.  These presentations were put together by students, aided by all the middle school teachers, headed up by social studies teacher Emily Oliapuram and the Arts Department teachers.  They celebrate the many ways our diverse community observe this holiday season. 

        8th grade students came up with the theme of the festival: Unity, Joy and Hope, after reading about several different holidays in their Social Studies classes.

        The theatre students spent one class period identifying the items that theatre and ceremony have in common. They then created a ceremony that included all of those shared elements, allowing for art and music students to fold in their work. Students chose decorations, activities, and protocols with the intent of instilling in the participating community a sense of unity and feelings of joy and hope.
         The three activities the theatre students devised were: a discussion about New Year's resolutions, a Post It activity wherein students would write a statement about hope or joy and stick it to a poster, and a knot-tying activity wherein each student had the opportunity to create an 'eternal knot.'
The band plays 'Ode to Joy', and holiday favorites.

Everyone ends with a rousing rendition of "We Are the World".

See Renaissance Rocks! below for special shout outs!
High School "Social Justice Day"
      The annual 11th grade project that highlights social justice issues of interest to the junior class was held on Friday, December 20th.  Students' topics were wide-ranging and thought-provoking, including two opposing views on Gun Control that created quite a stir among the adults. 
      The workshops are designed to make student presenters and workshop participants think beyond their opinions, and delve into research and answer questions they may not have considered before.  11th graders researched and presented all the workshops to the rest of the high school.  
      The juniors were responsible for all the many logistics of the day, including scheduling students into the workshops, and collecting permission slips for the workshops that required parental permission to attend.  At left you see part of the coordination committee hard at work during the morning.
The morning was topped off by a special feast sponsored by the sophomore class--which featured a long line of delicious food, served by elegantly dressed 11th graders. 
Well done Juniors!
International Lunches
      As part of the International Festival of Lights celebration, our middle school students had a chance to experience an international lunch when they went out to eat at various restaurants around Queens. WIth Yianna, one adventurous group tried quite a selection of food at a Greek restuarant, including stuffed grape leaves, calamari, grilled octopus,chicken skewers with pita & tzatziki and galaktobouriko, a wonderfully sweet dessert.  

What's On Your Mind?  Internet Safety 

thought bubble
     Internet safety is something that is probably on the minds of most parents, especially in light of the many instances of bullying and other negative uses of social media that were in the spotlight last year.  To highlight how quickly a message or image can spread on the internet, one teacher posted a message on Facebook asking people to "like" the message, to show how quickly it would make its way around.  Within a few days, the photo had been shared at least 16,200 times on Facebook, and "liked" at least 607,400 times on Facebook.


      While the internet is a great tool and offers a lot of educational opportunities we do not want our children to miss out on, it can also be abused and used in the wrong way.  And our children may come into contact with material they were not even looking for and which they may find upsetting.  In order to help our parents navigate their way around internet safety, we will be offering a workshop on this subject in the near future.  Please be on the lookout for emails or flyers on the topic and we hope you will be able to join us for this event.  In the meantime, you can follow theInternet Safety link in theHelpful Hintssection below.
Renaissance Rocks!

         Renaissance would like to send a special Shout Out to our Council Member Daniel Dromm, who has been named the Education Committee Chair by new Mayor DiBlasio.  In an interview after his appointment, Danny called Renaissance "a model charter school".  Yeah Danny, yeah Renaissance!
        Rebekah Slotnick asked that we shout out the following theatre students for taking their Festival of Lights project to the next level: Raphael Buenaventura, Ruth Uriarte, Matthew Torres, Caitlin DeJesus, Yolanda Ramirez, Jasmine Heras, and Andres Aguirre.

        Shout Outs to 8th graders Luisa Uriarte, Ruth Uriarte and Kilala Vincent for starting the first-ever Middle School Online Newspaper!  They are looking for writing submissions from 6th-8th graders in this call to action:  "Wouldn't you like to have an online place where you can express who you are and how you can improve your school? Wouldn't it be nice if you could shout out people on their good deeds or acknowledge someone's talent, even have feedback on your own writing? Instead of using paper to write shout-outs, embrace the modern age on electronics. Help create an online community just for your school. Don't just tell someone they've done a good job, announce it. Bring out the inner writer in you. If you love to write, don't be afraid, show us what you've got. The community will help you." Way to go middle schoolers--we look forward to reading your news!

Spotlight On...  Cluster One

Upon our return to school in 2014, we started literacy centers and Guided Reading! This is very exciting. We are merging various programs to create an engaging approach to balanced literacy.  


Kindergarten also came back to a revamped classroom! Kindergarten has a beautiful new carpet, new open layout of the room and a larger block area. It has been wonderful to see the class moving freely and happily in the renewed space! The class is also beginning a new social studies unit about making peace in our community inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.  We read the book  Martin's Words and made peace flowers to remind us of what we have learned. The class has begun unit 4 in Singapore Math, which focuses on ordering and patterns.  


       First graders have delved into a brand new writing unit with the new year! We are writing nonfiction teaching books and everyday we are eager to teach all about our topic! We are doing lots of subtraction in math, using many different strategies to solve our subtraction problems! We have also started learning about different tooth traditions all around the world - not everyone puts their tooth under the pillow & gets money from a tooth fairy!!


       Second grade is very excited to have just mastered multiplication and division! In writing, we celebrated the end of our unit on narrative writing with a publishing party, complete with a toast to "good writing"!  We have now moved on to a unit on informational writing.  We'd like to thank all of our parents that were able to come visit our culture bubble.  We are now working hard towards the 100th day of school (coming in February)...


       This week the third grade is taking the ELA practice test.  The tests will be graded and scores will be uploaded by next week.  Students are representing and interpreting data in math using, tables, graphs, charts and other visual organizers. On February third we will attend a show aligned to our study of Africa and trickster tales. In March Renay will attend professional development to create curriculum with the National Park Service in hopes that they will accept the third grade for an overnight camping/science learning experience.  In the past it has only been open to fourth grade and up.


       Fourth grade is working hard. In Literacy, we are finishing up our Nonfiction Unit. It's taking a bit longer with the ELA Mock Test and a week of Junior Great Books, but we are forging through. To finish the Unit kids will make a Nonfiction page relating to a Lenape topic of choice. We will be moving on to a character study. We are enjoying reading The One and Only Ivan, our fifth chapter book of the year. In math, we have moved on to Division and have done a few various hands on activities to get our minds programed to "sharing equally." Word problems continue to pose a bit of challenge, and both Ali and I have equipped students with tools/ strategies to help figure out those tricky multi-step problems. Kids are working towards memorizing multiplication facts. In Social Studies, we finished our study on the Lenapes. Kids made wonderful artifacts, made wampum from Rainbow Loom, and even simulated a trading expedition. Next topic: The colonization of New York. Our writing unit coincides with our Lenape Unit. We are learning how to write informational books. Each child will write an informational piece about a Lenape topic of choice. Next writing piece will be a persuasive one. We will having a performance incorporating both Science, and Dance. The theme: A vacation to the Solar System. Students will be writing infomercials for the "travel channel". We are moving mountains!!!


       In Literacy, the fifth grade students worked diligently on expanding a small moment into a fictional personal narrative. In these stories, they explained a cultural/family tradition that they depicted in their culture bubble window. In social studies, the students finished their first geography unit on tension between the colonies and Great Britain. We are currently, working on exploring the elements of writing a persuasive essay. This month we are continuing to read Esperanza Rising and work in our guided reading groups.

5th graders are solving real world problems in math involving addition and subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators. We are using visual fraction models and equations to represent problems. Benchmark fractions and our number sense of fractions allow us to estimate mentally and assess the reasonableness of our answers. 5th graders also want to thank our friends and family for coming out to see our Culture Bubble and Multicultural Museum. We are proud to say that Cluster 1 helped to raise over $1,000 for our Angel Fund!


TRCS Sports Desk


  HS Boys Basketball Team is in 6th place in division with 5 wins and 4 losses. Here is a recap of recent basketball team games:
 HS Boys Basketball had wins over Queens Gateway to

 Health Sciences (69-64) and Flushing International        (79-34).  Cassius brown is averaging 23 points.


HS Girls stand at 1 win and 2 losses with a recent win over Williamsburg Charter School (19-12)


MS Boys are at 1 win and 3 losses


MS Girls are 4th in their division with 5 wins and 3 losses. In a recent win over Anderson School (26-21) Valeria Franco had 17 points and Karen Balbin had 18 points in a win over IS 61 (50-19)  


   A much needed water break!      


Upcoming Games

1/14 HSB vs  Robert Goddard @ 415pm @ LIC YMCA

1/14 MSB Vs IS 145  @ 415pm @ IS 145 

1/16 MSG Vs Promise Academy 2 @ 5pm  @ Promise 2 

1/16 HSB  Vs  RFK @ 615pm @ LIC YMCA

1/18 HSG  Vs  Roads 2 @ 4pm @ Harlem Armory 

1/20 MSG ( Martin Luther King Tournament TBD @ PS 8 ) 

1/20 HSB   Vs Robert F Wagner@ 10am @ Pathways 

1/21 HSB Vs Scholars Academy @ 415pm @ LIC YMCA

1/22 MSG Vs JHS 192 @ LIC YMCA @ 430pm 

1/23 HSB Vs T. Harris @ T.Harris @ 4:15pm 

1/23 MSB vs JHS 204 @ JHS 204 @ 4:15pm 

1/25 HSG vs Promise Academy 1 @ Promise 1  @ 12pm 



The following students are playing Middle School Basketball this year: 


MS Boys Basketball:                     MS Girls Basketball: 


Franklin Hernandez 5th                  Deyana Wilkerson 6th

Jared Albines 7th                           Remay Pemba 6th 

Tylil Morton 7th                              Crystal Larrea 6th 

Cesar Rodriguez 7th                      Catherine Gargan 7th  

Luke Wortman 8th                         Helena Koffigoh 7th 

Sebastian Houzoury 8th                 Camilla Cheng 7th 

Reheen Traille 8th                          Aminan Dupnek 7th 

Chase Reinhardt 8th                      Victoria Dudek 7th 

Alix Scott 8th                                Karen Balbin 8th 

Matija Jelenic 8th                           Valeria Franco 8th                           

Matthew Torres 8th                         Caitlin Dejesus 8th

                                                    Yolanda Ramos 8th

                                                     Stephanie Apolaya 8th

                                                     Katherine Teran 8th

                                                     Geeta Sharma 8th 

PTA News
      Due to inclement weather, the January PTA meeting was cancelled.  We hope you can join us on February 26th for our next monthly meeting.  You will meet our new chef Mo, and take a tour of the wonderful kitchen facilities at Renaissance, where all meals are cooked fresh daily.  Mo will also be making some treats for a tasting, so don't miss it!

      The Mardi Gras party will be held on Friday, February 28th.  This is always a favorite of the kids, with lots of music and dancing.  We ask everyone to please help by bringing a dish to share.  We can use volunteers to help decorate, serve food or help with clean up.  The PTA cannot continue to offer these great fund raising opportunities without more help and participation.  Please contact Lillian or Kelley if you are able to help in anyway.  Even an hour of your time will be greatly appreciated! 

Upcoming Events:   


Monday, January 20th - M.L.King Jr. Day - No School

Mon-Thurs, January 27th-30th - Regents exams

Friday, January 31st - No School for High School students

Wednesday, February 5th - BOT  Meeting

Mon-Fri, February 17th - 21st, Winter Recess, 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 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. Here are some additional resources: 



Read the following document for tips on internet safety:

Internet Safety  



Elementary Math: 

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:  Thank you!


The Renaissance Charter School