TRCS Monthly Newsletter
March 2014      
Articles
9th Grade Volunteers
2nd Grade Celebrations
Spotlight On...
Renaissance Loves Reading
What's On Your Mind?
PEP Grant Update
School Lunch
Renaissance Rocks!
TRCS Sports Desk
PTA News
Free Fitness Classes!
Alumni Corner
Helpful Hints and Cool LInks

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     Our students celebrated as we passed 100 days of school this year.  We feel a hint of spring in the air, along with those wintery days.  We have been busy boosting up our after-school program with dance classes, and our reading fluency program with Cat-in-the-Hat surprises! Charter School politics is in the news, and we give an update here on how Renaissance is responding.

      There is always something special happening at Renaissance, so stay warm and read on..... 
9th Graders Volunteer at Soup Kitchen

 

     On Tuesday, March 4, Ali's 9th grade Advisory, along with Pierina, went to volunteer at the Holy Apostles' Soup Kitchen in Manhattan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Holy Apostles Church

serves the most free lunches in the United  States (about 800-1500) per day. The boys found the experience fun and rewarding.

 

 

2nd Grade Celebrates Jr. Great Books and
     100 Days of School
      Renaissance has always believed in hands-on learning and Daniela's 2nd grade class has been busy doing just that!

      In February they celebrated 100 days of school by creating a piece of artwork out of any materials they would like to use to represent the number 100

     There was a snowman made of 100 cottonballs, a jar filled with 100 gumballs and a winding road made of 100 stickers.  These and more fabulous 100 projects are on display in their Museum of 100 Days. 


Stop up and check them out!
 





       Next, the students used clay to create a scene from a Junior Great Book they were reading.  We are very impressed with how creative they were!

  
Spotlight On....Quashawn Davis wins travel opportunity!
  11th Grader  Quashawn Davis has been selected to participate in the Experiment in International Living program this summer through OppNet.  Quashawn will be traveling to Mexico to experience the Mexico: Local and Regional Cuisine Trip, which takes place from June 30th-July 28th.   The program is centered around culinary traditions and he will have a great opportunity to practice his Spanish skills. The scholarship will cover the costs of the program, and OppNet is coordinating his travel.

 

       The Opportunity Network works with students for six years, from sophomore year in high school through college graduation.  
Quashawn is pictured in the center. 

During that time, the organization prepares students for college, introduces them to careers, gets them five summers of paid internships, trains them in professional etiquette and teaches them how to build networks.

     


        Here Quashawn tells us about his experience with OppNet:

"I was recognized, nominated, and selected to be in OppNet because I made distinctive efforts to do daily tasks to my best ability. The long term effects were enrichment programs but specifically an experiential trip to Mexico. Many doors have been opened for me as I knew they would if I constantly showed my persistence and diligence in and outside of school. Even when no one's watching, somebody's watching. That's the reason why I stay on my toes. I know my pros and cons will have impacts, but in this case they caught my good side! A great incentive for me was my optimism towards my future and how things will turn out to be. Lastly, I never saw myself as doing the impossible, I just made a conscious effort".   

 

      We look forward to some great stories & photos from Quashawn! 

Renaissance Celebrates Reading
Our second annual Read Across America Day celebration was a success! The older students took a break from the regular LLI program this week to focus on fluency work, and the results of their efforts were evident.

                            
 All of the students seemed to enjoy the reading, related activities, and the
Seuss-themed snacks. It was great to see the older and younger students get a chance to interact.


Thanks to Amanda, Elizabeth, John and Leah for organizing such a fun event and to everyone who stopped by to visit!

What's On Your Mind? CHARTER SCHOOL POLITICS 

thought bubble
Charter Schools are in the News!  How Renaissance is going to survive the political battles.

Our principal Stacey has been one of the founding members of a coalition of community-based charter schools that started reaching out for dialogue with Mayor de Blasio as soon as he was elected.

The group has
Chancellor Farina &
Mayor de Blasio

grown as their willingness to work cooperatively with the administration (on the issues of fair and equitable facilities funding, co-locations and pre-kindergarten funding) has been in the news.  Instead of battling in the courts or in street rallies, the group of 34 community-based charterschool organizations, representing over 40 schools, has succeeded in meeting with Chancellor Carmen Fariņa and the Deputy Mayor's officein February, and this past March 10 had a very productive meeting with senior City Hall and Department of Education officials, and Mayor de Blasiohimself.  

The mayor participated for over 45 minutes in a substantive discussion of charter school policies and issues.  They discussed a shared vision of charter schools as part and parcel of the communities all the schools serve.  They also discussed the important role that charters have in meeting the needs of all students--particularly those with special needs.  The tone was very positive. 

The mayor reiterated his belief that charter schools have an important role to play in the city's public education system.  He expressed his desire to use school choice as a way to add value to families and communiteis and not as a form of competition and division.  Mayor de Blasio also clarified his view that the moratorium on future co-locations is a pause in the past practice, not an end to the practice, in order to give the city, the schools and other stakeholders time to develop a more constructive process and policy that is mindful of a variety of considerations and that creates a win-win situation for each school. 

The mayor also reaffirmed his commitment to having charter schools serve as Pre-K providers through an affiliated community based organization, and also said they would review the legal changes necessary to allow charter schools to directly enroll Pre-K students. His city administration is also committed to meeting regularly with a broad group of charter leaders to work through policies affecting charter and district schools.

So, in answer to some parents' concerns about our school surviving the latest political battles:

Renaissance is a very strong institution, with a great reputation in education circles.  Our local NYC Councilman, Daniel Dromm, has been a strong, outspoken supporter of our school, and is now the Chair of the Council Education Committee.  We look forward to working closely 
with him, as always.  Senator Jose Peralta's office has reached out several times, and we know we can count on their support. 

  
Senator Jose Peralta and Councilmember Daniel Dromm are frequent visitors.

 
Stacey, at the Blackboard Awards.
Stacey, our tireless principal, has risen to the challenge again and has presented our case for reasoned dialogue and passionate belief in our school to the press and to this administration many, many times over the past few months--and will continue to do so for as long as it takes.  We are in very good hands! 
Featured Article - PEP Grant Update
      Recently, your child may have taken part in the pedometer project, logging in how many steps they took every day.  Some of our students also completed a survey of daily activities.  These surveys were part of the requirements as recipients of a PEP grant and this information gives us a baseline of information to work from in order to expand on the physical and nutritional education we offer our students.

      As part of our PEP grant funding, we have added dance classes to our after-school programming at Renaissance.  Students in grades 5-12th grades can take advantage of these classes, promoting greater physical activity in their daily lives. Participating students will be taking a trip to see "After Midnight" on Broadway, as well as performing a "Flash Mob" dance at City Hall Park on June 6th to celebrate this year's activities.  Please encourage your 5th-12th grade child to sign up for this class!
          We have also kicked off the nutritional aspect of the grant with our "Wrap Sandwich" contest.  Students could submit a recipe that met certain healthy requirements, and on March 11th they prepared their sandwiches, which were judged by Jerry Goldman of BRGuest and Alfonso Donofrio of U.S. Foods. Our participating chefs were Andres Aguirre, Jacob Cadavid, Odalys Garate,  Kendall Godfrey, Erick Herrara, Blake Tunstull and Morgan Tunstull.  Andres, Erick and Blake were the three grand prize winners of a $25 gift card each and our runner-ups won fresh made cookies.  The winning sandwiches will be featured on our lunch menu in weeks to come. Keep on eye out for information about our next contest!


      We will soon be offering more "smoothie classes" and cooking classes after-school for our students.  Keep an eye out for family workshops as well!  In the meantime, if you and your child enjoy cooking together, you might want to submit a recipe to the "Top Chef Cook-Off" sponsored by Kohl's Cares and Cohen Children's Medical Center.  You could win an iPad!  Just enter here:
www.kohlshealthykidsny.com
School Lunch
      Our new and improved school meal program continues to win fans.  We feel very fortunate that principal Stacey worked tirelessly to change over our food service because she believed that we could offer our students better meal choices.

    The problems that many other schools face have recently been highlighted in a new documentary called 'Lunch Hour".  You can access the article here and see a short trailer of the film hereThen check out our school menus here!
Renaissance Rocks!
      A special Big Shout Out to Jose Mane and Ramil "Ram" Buenaventura  for being invited to apply for the Big Apple Awards: Recognizing Teacher Excellence in New York City! Upon being notified they were told:

      "You were nominated this school year as a teacher who does exceptional work for your students and your school.  After a thorough review of more than 3,100 nominations from students, families, educators, and community members, you were selected as one of 500 teachers invited to complete a Big Apple Awards application. After the application stage, a subgroup of applicants will be invited to the next round of the selection process, which will include an in-person interview and a classroom visit. The final 10 Big Apple Award recipients will receive a classroom grant for their students and schools, and in addition to their teaching responsibilities will serve as citywide ambassadors for the 2014-15 school year". 
Ram   
      This is a wonderful honor for our teachers and we wish them both great luck in moving forward in this process. 
TRCS Sports Desk

sports

Winter Sports are coming to an end:

HS Girls Basketball finished the season  2-10 
MS Boys Basketball team finished the season  2-9  They won their last game ( 49 -25 ) vs Coach Pierre's old team ( Quest 2 learn ) 
 
      Congratulations to MS Girls for making the playoffs for eight straight years! They finished the season 4-6 ( 5th Place) Overall record 8-10.  First game is March 14 vs IS 194. In a recent win over Kipp Infinity 28 - 7,  Valeria Franco had 18 points. 
 
      HS Girls  Ashley Bryant & Rulaiha Taylor (at left) represented the HS Lady Knights at the 2014  CSAA AllStar Game  and helped their  team win the game. 
 
      Soon to be reporting on upcoming Spring Sports:

 MS Co-Ed Soccer
 Elementary Girls Basketball 
 Elementary Basketball Club 
 HS Girls Softball 
 HS Boys Baseball
 
PTA News
PTA
     Renaissance is excited to announce the formation of a new fundraising committee.  Currently, its new members are Liz Del Pozo, Gary Felsher, Kat Collins and Georgia Southward.  We thank these parents for stepping up to be involved in helping our school.  If anyone else is interested in being involved on this, or any other committee, please contact Lillian or Kelly.

    The PTA is running a Miss Chocolate Spring fund raiser.  There are a lot of nice selections for the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays, so please help support Renaissance by placing an order by March 28th! Thanks and hope to see you at the next PTA meeting on March 19th.
Free Fitness and Nutrition Classes
  
Renaissance has been chosen as the site for community fitness classes which are being offered through the Emblem Health "Healthy Living" program.  We have partnered with community organization Queens Community House, who will be hosting the nutrition and cooking segments at their facility at 74-09 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights.

      A kick-off event will be held in the school auditorium on Monday, March 17th at 7PM, where you can sign up for classes or just get more information.  You can also see the full schedule and sign-up at www.EmblemHealthLiveHealthy.com.    

     Remember, classes are free and are open to the public, so tell your friends and family to join in as well!
 
 
Alumni Corner - Samantha Aaron
We got a surprise visit from class of 2008 alumni Samantha Aaron, who came by to tell us about her wonderful new job! Samantha got her Master's in Public Health in August from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health. 

This coming Tuesday Samantha will begin work at the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene as a City Research Scientist, Special Assistant to the Director of Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs. (Whew! She's going to need an extra-large business card!)

Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs help people with mental illnesses who have been assigned to specific city programs through court-mandated placements.  Samantha's new office will be helping to make sure they receive all the supports necessary to be successful in society.  We are so proud of you, Samantha!  Thanks for keeping in touch, and we look forward to hearing about your wonderful new career.

Upcoming Events:  

  • Monday, 3/17-Launch of Healthy Living Jackson Hts. 7PM Sign-up for free fitness classes sponsored by Emblem  
  • Tuesday, 3/18 - Free Aeorobics Class with Kiki 7PM 
  • Wednesday, 3/19 - PTA Meeting 6:30-8:00PM
  • Thursday, 3/27 - K-12 Parent-Teacher Conference 6-8:00PM Friday, 3/28 - K-12 Parent-Teacher Conference 1-3:00PM (early dismissal for all students 11:40AM)   
  • Tues-Thurs, 4/1-3 - NYS 3rd-8th Grade ELA Test   
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 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:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-skills/201008/cyber-bullying-defenses  

http://eyeguardian.com/ 

 

 

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: http://www.renaissancecharter.org/.  Thank you!

Sincerely,

The Renaissance Charter School