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     We hope you are enjoying your summer and having a chance for some extra family time.  There will be a few changes at Renaissance this year.  We have added a Pre-K class, and so our 1st graders will be moving up to the third floor.  We also have a number of new faculty members (and some returning) and a few who have moved on, whether to retire, get married or take on new positions.  Read on to get updated......
Farewell & Good Luck Allison, Lelia, Megan and SuhJin,
        This year we are losing some of our staff, who are moving on to retirement, marriage, and professional development.  We will be sorry to see them go, but wish them all the best:

Allison Peacock:

        Allison has accepted a new position at Growing Up Green.  She will be the Director of Math Education.

We wish her great success in her new position.

         After a long career as an educator,  and 10 years spent at Renaissance, Lelia is retiring.  Her teaching experience includes 28 years of teaching in Waldorf schools and institutions. She has a degree in Art Education and Fine Art and a Master's in Special Education.  We know she will enjoy having the time to paint the watercolors that she loves and we wish her all the best.

         Kindergarten and 1st Grade Loop Teacher SuhJin is leaving us after five years.  She is getting married and moving to Pennsylvania.  She wanted to share some memories with us all and made this video of her class over the last two years.


We offer her our congratulations and the best of luck in the future!  


        Megan McKeller, MS and HS ELA Teacher, is moving with her husband back to California, to be closer to their families. She left us with these parting words:


        "After spending three years in NYC, my husband and I are moving back to California. Renaissance has been so good to me, and I feel very lucky to have been part of this community. These last couple years are among the most formative of my life; both the staff and students have taught me so much about what it means to be a passionate teacher and learner. I hope to take what I learned at TRCS to another amazing charter school in Los Angeles. Thank you all for everything!"

Meet Our New Staff!

Maura Callan - 1st Grade Teacher
Maura attended Ithaca College and
St. John's University. She has taught in Brooklyn for the past 12 years, making this year her Queens debut! Maura lives in Jackson Heights with her husband and son. She loves traveling to new places and has a goal to reach ALL seven continents- only two to go!  



     Molly Cohen - 5th Grade Math/Science

"Hello! My name is Molly and I recently moved back to NY from Chicago, where I studied Urban Education at the University of Chicago.  My undergraduate degree is in Business Administration from the University of Michigan - Go Blue!  I discovered my love for teaching while spending a year teaching HIV/AIDS awareness and deforestation in Malawi and traveling across Africa.  Aside from traveling, I enjoy exploring the city, trying new restaurants, watching basketball, and hanging out with my sweet niece, Teddy.  A fun fact about me:  I graduated elementary school taller than all my teachers!" 


Nicole DeNino - Pre-K Teacher
This will be Nicole's 6th year of teaching. She is originally from Yonkers, NY and received her Bachelor's degree from Binghamton University, and a Master's in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. Prior to teaching in New York, Nicole taught at an international preschool in Japan for one year. She loves to knit and her new found hobby is paddle boarding!


                                                               Flo Evans - 1st Grade Teacher
Flo loves to sing and attended the Manhattan School of Music, studying 

vocal performance. She also has a Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education and a Master of Education Degree in School Building Leadership from St. John's University. She has worked in education for over ten years, working as a music teacher as well as a first, second and fourth grade teacher, incorporating music. into the classroom. When not at school she is on the beaches of Rockaway, trying to surf!   


Rachel Hollander - Special Education 

Rachel grew up in Nassau County, Long Island. She attended Binghamton University receiving a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology with a sociocultural focus. She earned a  Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education in an accelerated program at New York University. She

enjoys participating in and playing sports, particularly softball, soccer and tennis.  
She is also very passionate about nutrition and health and love to knit.

                                                Bianca Jordan - Pre-K Paraprofessional

Bianca loves performing and working with children and has worked in education (Pre K- 12) for 20 years in schools across the country. She has worked in multiple facets including  substitute teaching, after school,summer school,  and children's drama workshops. 

Bianca is also a singer, actor, playwright and producing performance artist. She graduated from Youth Performing Arts HS Kentucky and has a BA from Columbia College Chicago in Film/Video Producing. For 7 years she worked in film and television for multiple independent films, the Disney Channel, TV-One, and PBS stations across the U.S. 


When not working Bianca enjoys reading, scrap booking, and dancing!  

Ariel Sacks: 8th/9th Grade ELA
Ariel studied English literature at Brown University and earned her Masters Degree in teaching at Bank Street College of Education.  She has been teaching English Language Arts in NYC for ten years and is the author of Whole Novels for the Whole Class: A Student-Centered Approach. In her spare time, she writes a lot and plays violin in a band.

And a warm welcome back to Yumeris who was out on maternity leave last year! 
Renaissance Begins Pre-K Program
        Renaissance accepted its first class of Pre-K students this year.  Eighteen 4-year old "future leaders" will begin their education with us in September.  Obviously, we had to order a lot of supplies in an extra-small sizes!

       This also means a number of changes, as the Pre-K class will be held on the main floor.  For those families who did not attend the "meet & greet" of the new teachers (see article above) and see where your new classroom will be, please be sure you and/or your child arrives on-time the first day to help adjust with any changes- for example the 1st grade class will now be on the third floor!

       Any student who remains with Renaissance through their primary and secondary education we will be with us for 14 years and will graduate in 2028.  Another first for Renaissance!
Featured Article - Have You Tasted the APIL?
         Renaissance's "Annual Parent Information Letter ", or APIL, which sounds much tastier, is now available!  It is jam-packed with information you will need to know for the coming year, so please find it, download it, or come and pick up a hard copy!  You can find it attached to an email, if we have your current email address, you can find it on our website on the Parents page ( or you can drop by the office and request a hard copy.

What's On Your Mind? A note from our Principal..... 

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Dear Renaissance Families,


        We are very happy to present you with our end of summer newsletter that gives you important information about what's to come in the 2014-2015 school year.

Our newsletters provide you with lots of great information about what is going on at Renaissance and I strongly encourage you to read each one.

        If you have suggestions for items you would like to see us cover, please email Peggy Heeney at  This is your newsletter and we want to make it relevant to your needs. If there are any interested parents who would like to consider being a "guest reporter", please also let us know. We would love to have more involvement in this effort. Your talents and creativity will only make our newsletter better!

        Please make sure to read your Annual Parent Information Letter that will be coming to you shortly. It has been affectionately nicknamed the APIL with a picture of an apple nearby. Please know that we can spell apple, but definitely think that the play on words is fun. In fact, I suggested we call it the Big APIL since every year it gets larger and packed with more information to help you understand school policies, procedures and philosophy. Remember, that our mission is to "Develop Leaders for the Renaissance of New York" and so the Big Apple is an integral part of the Renaissance learning experience.

So, let me again encourage you to check out this newsletter and the others that will be sent to you via email. Make sure to notify us on your child's emergency contact form if your email address has changed.

Here's to a great school year!





Renaissance Rocks!

       There has been a worldwide focus on the benefits of having a 'mindful' classroom ~ one where students are given techniques to help them relax and be better prepared for the day ahead. These techniques can include stretching, meditation and yoga.  Our own 4th Grade teacher Christina has been doing just that with her class this year and her efforts and the effects on her class have been written up about in the Huffington Post.



Christina rockin' a pose!

















       In particular they discuss how this practice led to the great yoga fundraiser that the 4th grade class held to raise money for the Nature's Classroom trip. 

Read all about it here: 


       Also, if you want to follow-up on the mural project Christina's class took part in this spring, visit to connect to a video documentary. 

Spotlight On... Ram Buenaventura
       As if winning a Big Apple Award for teaching was not enough, Ram has now been nominated as a Hometown Hero by the Daily News!

        Together with the Department of Education, the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, The News will recognize school workers who display generosity, compassion, dedication, selflessness and ingenuity. Their achievements could include helping students who face extreme difficulties, creating innovative programs, making outstanding contributions to the community, or some other extraordinary act.


        As you may know, besides doing a great job teaching math, Ram helped to mobilize successful clothing, food and book drives for the Philippines after they were struck by Typhoon Haiyan last year.  Read the great story about Ram's early career in the Philippines and how he came to the U.S. in the Daily News online article!  

        Also catch this interview, shown in the Philippines and in the U.S. on Filipino channels:  Award-winning Filipino teacher in NY makes math cool

Upcoming Events:  


Monday, 9/1 - Labor Day, School Closed

Tuesday-Friday, 9/2-9/5 - Professional Development, No


Monday, 9/8 - First Day of School, All Grades

Thursday, 9/18 - Curriculum Night 6-8PM

Thursday-Friday, 9/25-26, Rosh Hashanah, 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