TRCS Monthly Newsletter
January 2015      

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Welcome back!  We hope you and your family enjoyed the holiday break and wish you the best in the coming year. The next few weeks will be especially busy as we are working hard to get our charter renewed and get ready to travel to Albany to advocate for charter schools and equality in education for all children.  Read on to see how you can help your child's school.
Spotlight On...  Charter Renewal

Over 300 people filled the auditorium to overflowing on Wednesday, January 21, for our third Charter Renewal Public Hearing.  Testimonials went on for over an hour and a half, with teachers, parents, students, community members and elected officials giving heart-felt statements about what Renaissance has meant to them.

Renaissance opened its doors in 1993, but did not become a charter school until 2000.  In 2005 it received its first 5-year charter renewal and was successfully renewed again, for 5 years, in 2010. 

We have just applied for another 5-year renewal.  This is a very time-consuming process as the school must address over 35 different 'goals' that we set in the previous charter.  These include such items as attendance, test scores and graduation rates.  Renaissance must show that it has met these goals, or what we are doing to meet those goals in the future. 

January 20th and 21st we had full-day visits from the Department of Education.  They met with administration to discuss our protocols and strategies and with teachers to discuss curriculum and the use of data in lesson planning.  On Wednesday evening there was a public hearing at 6PM, with sign-up beginning at 5:30 for those who wished to speak on behalf of Renaissance A strong show of involvement and support by all constituents is an important factor in our charter renewal...and the response from all of our community was overwhelming! 

  Many alumni also returned to speak about what an important role Renaissance played in their lives. Hopefully we will receive another full five-year charter renewal, and we can keep on touching, and changing, our students lives for the better!   Thank you to all! 
Holiday Celebrations
Just before the holiday break, many of the classes and clusters held special celebrations.  Here's a look:
Leahs' 3rd Grade class had an End of Year Feast.  You can check out the video at and more photos in their dropbox.

PreK learned about different New Year's traditions and created a wish tree.


 The first grade created snowmen to welcome the season of winter. The snowmen were made with finger paints and proudly hang on their door. We even had a silly snowman poem they recited, and had some visitors to the class (moms Angela and Rachel) to read Christmas stories.

There was also a K-4th grade ice skating outing to Chelsea Piers.  Here is 1st grade teacher Flo with some students.

Middle School Arts
On Tuesday, December 16th, parents were invited to share in the 7th grade students artistic endeavors so far this year.

Robert's art class displayed monotype comic book pages and animations based on the hero's journey archetype.
Rebekah's theater class presented original plays in pairs which all began with the same prompt: "Hey, did you see that..."  And  Everett's class played Jingle Bells.  The second time around, all the parents joined in singing!

3rd Grade Visit to U.S. Museum
Third grade held a "museum exhibit" in their room last month. The theme was "United States on Parade" and each student created a "float" made out of a tissue or show box. The class worked for a month researching their chosen state, using maps, the internet, and books to find a variety of information. They also learned a song about states and their capitals called "Tour the States" and performed that at their museum. The students worked really, really hard and became experts on every detail of their state-from the capital and location to the state cooking pot and soil type! 
5th Grade Graffiti Wall

In response to the decision in the Eric Garner case, students in the 5th grade created a "Graffiti Wall".

Teachers used this opportunity for children to discuss race relations and equality and justice. 

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King

Renaissance played host to a community-wide celebration of Dr. King's life and work on Monday, January 19th.  The event was put together  by various Jackson Heights organizations, including Kehillat Tikvah, St. Mark's Episcopal Church,Community United Methodist Church and  the  

Muhammadi Commmunity Center.


Several community members, as well as students of Renaissance, participated in readings of some of Dr. King's speeches.  There was also singing, poetry reading and speeches by local dignitaries, including our Council Member Danny Dromm.

  The event was a wonderful display of the great diversity that is Jackson Heights, and Renaissance!  At the end of the celebration, groups set off to Regal Heights Rehabilitation Center for a day of service.  


The first grade class also honored Dr. King by creating a video for the World We Wish For project.  Each child stepped up to the mike to express their wish for the world.  You can watch this heart-warming video here: 

TRCS World We Wish For
TRCS World We Wish For
8th -- 12th Grade Internship Classes
On Wednesday mornings, 8th-12th graders have an option of various multi-media classes they can take, including theater, art and music, as well as a culinary arts class. 

Here  the students learn how to make home-made pasta with Joe Ford

Under the direction of Curtis Anderson, students work on an original play.

Students in the art class can work on various projects.  Here some students are making a prop for a play.
2015 Charter School Advocacy Day
On Tuesday, February 3rd, Renaissance will join dozens of other charter schools from around New York state, visiting Albany to advocate on behalf of charter schools.  Last year over 1,200 people attended Advocacy Day.

Some of the most important things on the agenda:  fair and equal funding for every child's education, as well as the subject of facilities.  While Renaissance has been fortunate all these years to have our own space, many schools are either co-located with other schools in DOE space, or they have to pay rent in private facilities - using money that should be used in the classrooms on education.  Advocacy Day in Albany allows parents,students and teachers  the opportunity to visit with elected officials and speak with them about any issues that they feel are impacting education in New York.

Bus transportation and lunch are provided.  If you would like to join us, please contact to sign up!

What's On Your Mind?

thought bubble
Chalkbeat NY is a great online news source about education in New York.  To start off the new year, they revisited their Top 10 most read stories of 2014, including one story on enrollment practices in charter schools. Some schools choose not to 'backfill' or fill seats left empty by kids who have left a school, sometimes in mid-year.  Principal Stacey Gauthier spoke her mind about the subject and was quoted in the article:

"It was just natural, just organic," Gauthier said. "You have a space, there are 2,500 kids on a wait list-why would you not fill the space? It never crossed my mind-'Wow, don't backfill because you might have to work harder to make that kid a Renaissance kid'". 

Unlike many schools, Renaissance has accepted students midway through a semester, sometimes even in the 11th or 12th grade.  As Stacey says, every kid deserves the opportunities that Renaissance can provide!
Renaissance Rocks!
Thanks to Rachel Blanchard, 1st grader Liam's mom, who has been regularly volunteering in the class and helped put together the video for the World We Wish For (see MLK article above).

Thank you to Edwin Ramirez, father of 7th grader Louis.  He donated a wonderful toy to the after-school which the kids have been enjoying very much!

Marlen gives a shout out to our attendance monitors!

Thanks to everyone who donated books which have been sent to the Adenta Community School in Ghana, Africa.  This school is sponsored by DEAR-Drop Everything and Read.  Renaissance donated over 500 books!

TRCS Sports Desk


Over  the holiday break, the Middle School Girls basketball team played in a tournament and their great spirit was mentioned on the NYC Youth Basketball website . The  Tournament Director  had this to said  "I was very impressed by this great and competitive group of young girls who played their hearts out in the Middle School holiday classic. Renaissance Charter school from Queens. "  Our young ladies finished in 2nd place.

Recently the MS Girls Basketball Team and 5-7th grade team participated in the NBA/Gatorade Middle School Tournament.

Some of the kids got to meet former NBA Knicks player John Wallace.    



The MS Girls Basketball team has an overall record of 6-5, and a 3 wins/2 losses record in league play.  Recently they had a win over IS 61 (29-3). 


5-7th Grade Basketball's next game: Vs IS 252 @ LIC YMCA on Jan. 30 at 4:30pm 
HS Boys Basketball overall record is currently 7-6.  They have a recent win over Queens Gateway to Health Sciences.


Cassius Brown Wells is 6th in Scoring in All Leagues in PSAL. 


Tenzing JH Ukyab is 35th in all leagues in assists. 


During recess class the 3rd-5th graders participated in the local Dribble, Dish and Swish Competition, sponsored by the NBA (Basketball Skill Challenge). The winner will advance to the regional competition this weekend at Queens College.

When you have a chance check out our official athletic website :  
PTA News
"Thank you to all of the families that attended the public hearing for our charter renewal.  The turnout was beyond our expectations and we are so glad to see how much our families love Renaissance.  The PTA Executive Board along with the teachers and staff will be hosting another PTA meeting on February 25, 2015.  More details will be made available in early February.  We hope to see you there."
PTA Executive Board
Alumni Corner

Renaissance alumni Chelsea Reid has remained very active at Renaissance since graduating in 2008. She came back in 2009-2010 to organize a week long trip to New Orleans. Then in 2013-2014 she created the Students Care:Service-Learning Program, which allows students to participate in volunteer opportunities. That year they went to the annual Youth Service-Learning Conference in Washington D.C.and she organized a Day of Volunteering for all 9th grade advisories last January in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Her latest endeavor is organizing a group of our students through Students Care, to go to New Orleans over spring break.  As Chelsea explains:

"Members of The Renaissance Charter School, outraged by the inadequate response of the United States and local governments to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, sent two teachers in 2007 to survey and document the conditions in New Orleans. In 2008 and 2010 a combined group of over 40 students traveled to New Orleans for a week-long volunteer trip. These students worked tirelessly on projects to improve conditions for the most vulnerable residents of the city, many of them still struggling to get back on their feet. Students worked hard on completing construction projects, removal of debris, lawn mowing, canvassing, revitalizing a school, and tutoring elementary and middle school students.

August 29th, 2015 will mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This year Renaissance will be sending the Students Care group to New Orleans to spend their spring break volunteering, as well as documenting the progress of how the city has redeveloped post-Hurricane Katrina."


We are so pleased that our students want to use their out-of-school time in such a selfless way.  If you would like to help support their efforts, you can make a donation in the office or online through Paypal.  

Upcoming Events:    

Thursday, Jan. 29th - PD, No class for PreK students

Friday, Jan. 30th - Scoring Day, No classes for HS students 

 Wednesday, Feb. 4th - 6:45PM Board of Trustees Meeting 

Thursday, Feb. 12th - 6:00 PM PreK-8th grade Open House  Mon-Friday, Feb. 16th-20th - Winter Recess, School Closed 

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