TRCS Monthly Newsletter
MAY 2016





  yellow-tulip-field.jpg

April showers have indeed brought May flowers and our neighborhood is in full bloom.  We hope everyone enjoyed  the milder temperatures last week and  had a chance to recharge their batteries as we head into the final stretch of the school year!

There were a lot of community service trips and field trips before the break, as well as Social Justice Day.  We also began holding auditions for our June 3rd Cabaret Night.  Any middle or high school student is welcome to try out,  and parents too!  See the info here.

Next week our 3rd-6th graders will be going to Lake George for Nature's Classroom, and the following week 7th-8th graders will be visiting Philadelphia for their end of year trip.  8th Grade Music and Art students performed and  HS Academic, Music and Arts presentations begin with a portfolio share on May 24, and HS Arts Program exhibitions are on May 26.  See the schedule at the end of the email for more information.

Read on to check out all the things happening around Renaissance! 

Spotlight On......Black Lives Matter Practicum trip to NOLA
Teachers Emily O. and Pierre, social worker Ali and alumna Chelsea Reid led a group of 10 students on a trip to New Orleans, LA the week before spring recess.  Some objectives were to follow-up on the rebuilding of the city after Hurricane Katrina, as well as to gain first-hand knowledge of the experience of African Americans throughout history in New Orleans.  They also had a chance to experience the rich culture of the city today, including music, art and, or course, food!  It was a real learning experience, with time set aside daily for homework, as well as reflections on what they saw and did everyday.  Please read HERE to hear about all the wonderful details of their trip and what they learned in the four days spent in New Orleans!
 
 

Students who attended the trip were:

9th grade:Marissa and Karina 
10th Grade:Andres, Marcus, Matthew, Geeta and Ngawang 
11th Grade: Adrian 
12th Grade:Troy and Aidan 

Classroom Updates
2nd Grade learned all about trees on a  visit to the Queens Botanical Gardens. Guide Robin walked them through the gardens and talked about Cherry Trees, Evergreen trees, bee hives, and more. They attended a workshop and got to touch an old wasp nests, a piece of trunk from a tree, and a variety of leaves. The second grade was able to plant tangerine seeds, so be sure to water the plants at home! They ended the trip with a lovely picnic in the park.  2nd grade is also working on math, using candy!. The children truly understand the value of dividing items into equal groups when the reward is a cup of Swedish Fish. 
 
8th Grade Art Students displayed their paintings and drawings, as well as performing musical numbers, for both families and classmates. One evening families and friends had a chance to visit the school and see what their talented children have been up to.  Then during the school day, students were able to enjoy a musical performance and art show.  If you have not seen some of the wonderful art that adorns our walls, next time you are in the building you should take a walk along the first floor corridor, as well as the basement corridor, where there is a lot of art on display.  Thanks to Robert and Jonathan for the doing such a great job with our budding artists.
  
   
9th Grade Theatre Students performed in the NYC Student Shakespeare Festival at the renowned off-Broadway Lucille Lortel Theatre for the 2nd year in a row. The students worked for three months with Rebekah to craft an original story told with dialogue from Shakespeare's plays; this year the students culled the script from "Twelfth Night." The students chose to tell a story about kidnapping and hostages, in the midst of which there is a love story and characters rising above their own fears to save themselves. In addition to Shakespeare's words, students used rudimentary costumes, movement, vocal sound effects, and two chairs to tell their story.
 

PreK held a 'surprise' Mother's Day celebration on May 11th.  Grandmothers and aunts were invited as well. The children sang to their moms and enjoyed sharing a treat with them.
 
Since January, 1st graders have been working every week with teaching artists from CMA to create stop motion animated movies. On May 4th they premiered their film for their families and the TRCS community. Students incorporated their penguin unit into the film to create animated penguins, as well as clay to animate their names and different art materials to create self portraits. Students also created animal masks and stared in one part of the film! Here's a link to the film!
        The Red Carpet 
                     Animal Masks 

        Fun with Friends 
3rd Annual "Wrap" Contest
 


Our food service providers, Geoff & Debbie Ramsey, hosted the 3rd annual wrap sandwich contest on April 19th. Nine students competed with original sandwich recipes with ingredients such as yogurt, guacamole, olives and beans.


The following students were the top picks, winning $25 Fandango Movie gift cards:

1st place: Morgan Tunstull
2nd Place Thomas Leahy
3rd Place: Ben Gargan & Julia
Francione tied with Joeshin Septh Bullock.  Congratulations to all who participated.  They each received a free cookie at lunch!

              All of our 2016 contestants!

Our 2016 Winners!  Their sandwiches will appear on the lunch line in this month!


Rooftop Garden
 There's lots going on in the Renaissance garden, besides the veggies are that starting to grow!  We recently received a grant from Grow to Learn to purchase an aeroponic growing system.  This will allow students to experiment with growing crops without soil!  We also received two grants which will allow us to offer our summer gardening program again (thanks to Assemblyman Moya and The Laura B. Vogler Foundation). This year we will be working with Beyond Organic Design to introduce permaculture to our gardeners.  The program will once again feature many great field trips to gardens and farms around the city.

This year our garden will once again be featured as part of the Jackson Heights Historic Garden Tour.  Community residents have enjoyed seeing our 'secret garden' up on the roof.  If you have not had a chance to see the garden, come on June 11th.  You might enjoy touring the neighborhood, as well as seeing the many historical artifacts and photos on display at the Community Church.  The day is organized by the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and tickets for the tours and activities can be bought through them.
 

National Honor Society
 
On Friday, May 6th, twenty-one Renaissance students were inducted into the National Honor Society (NHS).  In order to be a member of the NHS, students must maintain at  least a 3.0 GPA (out of a 4.0 rating), as well as demonstrate good leadership and citizenship qualities. 

There were 15 inductees from the 10th grade: Andres Aguirre, Mohammed Alam, Nicholas Alvarez, Stephanie Apolaya, Genesis Garcia, Ana Llorens, Yui Maehara, Melanie Mata, Milena Naranjo, Kayla Palin, Tara Pemba, Sabrina Testi, Louis Torres, Alice Yoshida and Karina Zepda.  From the 11th and 12th grades there were six inductees: Vivian Batista, Antonella Cordero, Ben Gargan, Giselle Ibanez, Tenzing Palmo and Arian Rojas.

Teachers Nicole Jollon and Lisa Burns helped to organize the event and 12th grader Nia Daniels, a member of the NHS, was the student speaker.  The ceremony was overseen by the Renaissance chapter of the NHS Officers: Alexander Paucar, Julia Francione, Nusrat Uddin and Makeda Lewis.

After the ceremony, the students and their families were invited to a celebration in the cafeteria, and enjoyed a lovely banquet provided by Chef Mo and Geoff & Debbie Ramsey.  Congratulations to all the students and their families!


Bubble at Renaissance!
 
The Bubble Foundation hosted a Cafeteria Taste Test to see which item was the most popular choice to be included in our salad bar.  Three items where on the ballot: kale chips, baked chickpeas and roasted cauliflower.  And the winner was.......  Kale Chips, by a margin of almost 2-to-1 over both chickpeas and roasted cauliflower.  All of them were delicious (thanks Chef Mo!) and are good, healthy alternatives for snacks at home, as well.  Try some of these healthy recipes at home!

Bubble also hosted their final Family Dinner last week.  All students and families in grades PreK- 5th grade were invited to take part in this special event. We have enjoyed having them in our school for the past two years.  While they will no longer be teaching any classes next year, the organization will support our school with curriculum and other resources. (See pix below)




Urban Advantage Family Field Trip
A group of 20 students and parents attended a field trip to the American Museum of Natural History, courtesy of the Urban Advantage Middle School Science Initiative.  Bus transportation was provided to and from the museum, as well as entry into the museum and the special Butterfly Pavilion.  For families who have not taken advantage of these trips (last year we went to the Hall of Science), they are a great way to spend the day with your child and other TRCS families, exploring some of the great educational institutes of New York City.  At the beginning of next year, we will once again pass out special passes for Family Days.  These are days when you can go on your own and be allowed to take part in special workshops.  This is a Middle School program and all students in 6th-8th have been part of this program for the last two years. This school also received some funding for special projects, such as the BioBus.  We hope you can join the next group trip or take a visit on your own.  Each Family Day voucher is good for 4 people, so make it a family affair.

   
    
 

College Readiness Trip
Our Leadership Programs have given a number of our high school students wonderful opportunities to explore various educational programs and summer learning. 10th Grader Andres Aguirre is the latest student to take advantage of a wonderful extra-curricular activity. He was selected to attend a 4 day, 3 night trip to North Carolina with 9 other students representing various NYC High Schools. For his leadership class, Andres is participating in Global Kids, an organization of in-school and after-school programs where middle school and high school students examine global issues, make local connections, and create change through peer education, social action, digital media, and service-learning. Over Spring recess Andres took part in a college and career readiness trip, visiting three schools in the Raleigh/Durham area in North Carolina from Monday April 25-Thursday April 28, 2016. All expenses were covered by Global Kids. The students toured Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State. The goal of this trip was for students to explore different types of college environments to better understand their needs as a student. Students also visited local cultural institutions and attractions to get a better sense of the surrounding communities. Congratulations Andres!
 

Political Selfies!
Some of the presidential candidates came to Jackson Heights during the primaries to campaign.  Democrat Bernie Sanders visited Jackson Heights at Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor and some Renaissance people ran into him!

Clockwise from left:
Christopher Carrasco;
Jose Mane and Sandra Fritz; Andres Aguirre and Bianca Jordan; at bottom Joeshin Septh. 
 


Advisories and Community Service
Riaad and Yaccov took their advisory students to Coney Island to do a beach clean-up.  We're sure the summer swimmers will appreciate their work!








Amanda's and Yianna's Advisory (7th grade boys) volunteered for the day in Rachel's PreK classroom



They spent the day playing, reading and going to the park.
All the classes who participated in community service projects will be presenting to the school.  7th, 8th and 9th grade started off with presentations on such projects as Homelessness and  Wildlife in the City. Students then voted on their favorite presentation.



Social Justice Day
Friday, April 22nd was a signature Renaissance Junior Class event, Social Justice Day.  11th Grade students hosted a series of presentations on timely topics, suggested by the students themselves.  They presented material in a number of ways, including music, videos and recreating the popular television show Jeopardy!  After a full morning of presentations, students were able to part-take of a luncheon prepared by the 11th grade class.  Congratulations on a job well done.


Renaissance Poets!
Thirty-two of our 10th grade students were selected to have their poems published by Creative Communication.    This organization runs poetry and essay writing contests to support students' creativity.  Students can win monetary prizes and have their work published in books which families and friends can buy.  Teachers can earn classroom supplies.  But most of all it allows students to stretch their skills and give it a try.
 Only the top 45% of the poems are chosen to be published, but Taylor Swift once won a poetry contest, so you never know!


Shout Outs!
7th grader Tiffany Videla was accepted into the Summer Institute at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts for voice.  She auditioned and was chosen from 800 applicants!

Marlen gave a Shout Out to 6th grader Darvin Almonza for showing his appreciation when Marlen fixed his backpack.

This month we will blow our own horn and  give a shout out to Renaissance!  Renaissance was featured in the NYC Special Education Collaborative Newsletter.  A special focus for the newsletter was Featured Schools Week, a celebration and sharing of innovative special populations' supports in NYC Charter Schools.  On Monday, the 9th, we received visitors from other schools who toured Renaissance.
 
Renaissance has had a long-standing partnership with PS 244Q (a District 75 program) to provide an inclusion model for cohorts of high needs special education students.  This partnership entails general education faculty from Renaissance working collaboratively with special education faculty from PS 255Q to provide a high-quality inclusion setting for the students being served.  This program has been very successful, with several of the PS244Q students who have gone to our high school being accepted into college!

Check out other Shout Outs here

TRCS Sports Desk
sports
 
Currently, the TRCS sports program is thriving. The HS Varsity softball team is fighting for a playoff spot in their league. They have a bottomless bench and a starting lineup of suave, veteran athletes who, with the combination of the young bench players, provide the keys to their team's success. The 5th and 6th grade basketball teams for boys and girls are both expected to have great seasons. The boys are learning to play together and how to close basketball games while the girls are looking to go back to back after winning the championship last year and going undefeated. The Co-Ed 5th and 6th grade soccer team, although not quite meeting their full potential, have still managed to have a much improved season to this point and currently have a winning record. They not only have a chance at making the playoffs, but they have a chance to breakthrough and win the championship as well.    Go Renaissance! 
                     Co-Ed Soccer  
PTA News
We will be voting for the new PTA Executive Board at the next meeting, so please join us on Wednesday, May 18th at 6:30. 

Remember, we are holding auditions for our Cabaret Night.  All 5th-12th grade students are invited to try out, and we would love to have families perform as well.  It is still not too late, so contact Everett at eboyd@renaissancecharter.org to set up a day & time. 

Alumni Corner....and other visitors!
Two of our 2009 graduates came in for a visit last week,  Daniel Laverde & Vincent Guzman.  Daniel is in the U.S. Navy and is also a Herbalife Health & Wellness coach.  He has been married for three years.  Vincent works in retail and brought in his 3-year old son.


           Daniel Laverde 
     Vincent & son 
 
Our visitors with Marlen and some of their former teachers LisJane, Sandra and Martha. 


We also had a visit from our founding principal, Dr. Monte Joffee.  Monte is still very involved with Renaissance, sitting on our Board of Trustees.  He is also now a professor at Touro College.  He recently visited Renaissance with some of his students.





Elementary science teacher Maura stopped by for a visit.  She has been on maternity leave this semester.  While Ryan wasn't with her, she did pass along this picture!  A potential alumnus! 


 



Former teacher Nancy Condyles (center) visited this week, as well.  Nancy was a long time teacher at TRCS and she retired two years ago. 



UPCOMING DATES
Friday, May 13- Music and Art Exhibition for students
                        Advisory Community Service Fair 
Monday-Friday, May 16-20 - Nature's Classroom
Wednesday, May 18 - PTA Meeting 6:30PM
Wednesday-Friday,  May 18-20 - Middle School Trip
Thursday, May 19 - 10th Grade Advisory Community Service Fair
                              Spanish Honors Society Inductions, 6:30 PM
Tuesday , May 24 - HS Art Discipline Exhibits Daytime
Thursday, May 26 - HS Arts Exhibition 6-8PM
                               PreK-5 Family Game Night 5-8PM
Monday, May 30 - Memorial Day, NO SCHOOL
Wednesday, June 1 - Common Core Regents, Algebra 2
                                 BOT Meeting, 6:45PM
Monday, June 5 - Grade 4 & 8 Science Exam
Wednesday, June 8 - K-8 Clerical Half-day, 11:40AM dismissal
Thursday, June 9 - Brooklyn-Queens Day, NO SCHOOL Monday, June 13th - Staff Appreciation Luncheon
Tuesday, June 14 - K-8 Clerical Half-day, 11:40 dismissal
Wednesday, June 15 - PTA Rooftop Garden Party, 6:30PM 


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:

Select your child's grade, then select the subject. You can print out copies of past tests for practice.
 
For information about on-line safety, teen eating disorders, age specific issues and more visit:
  
  
   
Read the following document for tips on 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

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