Dear PS107 Families,
It’s hard to believe that March is here already and we are two-thirds of the way through the 2020-21 school year. We’ve come to expect that nothing will be particularly easy or straightforward this year. Friday’s announcement by schools Chancellor Richard Carranza that he will be stepping down later this month was a case in point. After leading our somewhat tumultuous return to school buildings amidst the pandemic this fall, he says he is leaving to grieve the loss of almost a dozen family members and friends who died from the virus. His replacement, Bronx Executive Superintendent, Meisha Porter, will take over as Chancellor on March 15th.
Carranza will depart soon but not before having sent a shot over the bow about his concerns over State Testing which the Biden administration announced will be implemented this year. In a press conference last Thursday, the day before he announced his resignation, Carranza said, “There is an opt-out, and if there is ever a time to consider whether that opt-out makes sense for you, this is the time.” Here is the full article, published in Chalkbeat Friday morning: https://ny.chalkbeat.org/2021/2/25/22301568/carranza-to-nyc-families-this-is-the-time-to-weigh-opting-out-of-state-tests. Just to be clear, the decision to opt-out of state testing rests solely with parents and guardians and is something we neither endorse nor discourage. It is a parent’s right to advocate for what is in their child’s best interests.
In terms of State Testing, we have no further information about it from the city or state. It is unclear how or when the tests will be administered, or what they will look like. The Biden administration has said that states will have broad flexibility, but just what that means is uncertain. They have also said that no negative consequences to students or schools will result from test scores. I'll let you know as soon as I hear more news.
While on the subject of testing, some of you may wonder about Gifted and Talented Testing for your kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade child. In a typical year, testing is done by our school staff in January and offers are received in the spring. This year, no actual G&T testing will take place. Parents of PreK children should apply between March 8th - April 9th and their teachers will complete a questionnaire to determine eligibility for a G&T lottery. Children currently in grades K-2 whose families are interested in G&T programs must already be on a G&T waitlist from last year in order to be entered into a lottery for next year’s seats. Please see this link to the DOE website for more information on G&T programs: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/enrollment/enroll-grade-by-grade/gifted-and-talented
This month we are pleased that most of our K-3 teachers will be trained in a highly structured phonics program we adopted this year called, Recipe for Reading. RFR is the phonics component from the research-based Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach to the teaching of reading. RFR’s sequential and repetitive approach to learning letter names and sounds will go far to support the literacy development of our youngest students. Third grade teachers will use the program on an ad hoc basis with students who need more support.
On the subject of reading, the next two weeks is a great time to stock up on books and to support our PTA. Please visit the PTA Book Fair at Powerhouse Bookstore (8th Avenue between 11th & 12th Streets) between Monday 3/1 and Monday 3/15. Powerhouse will donate a portion of their sales to the PTA, a double bonus for all of us!
March is the month when Report Cards are released and Parent Teacher Conferences take place. Report cards will be available to you on your NYCSA account on Wednesday March 17th. You must register in advance on that site to access your child’s report card. We will no longer email individual reports to families. Please contact Pamela for the unique access code you will need to create your account.
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday March 18th. Conferences will be virtual and will be held from 1-3pm and from 5-7pm that day. Teachers will begin scheduling conferences soon. If you are unable to meet during this timeframe, please let your teachers know. They will be happy to adjust their schedules to accommodate you. Cluster teachers are also available to meet with you during PTCs. Please email them directly to schedule a time.
Thursday March 18th is a Half Day. Dismissal is at 11am. There is NO After School.
The March School Safety Meeting will be held via Zoom on Wednesday March 10th at 2:15pm. If you have any safety concerns to be addressed, or if you wish to attend, please let Pamela or Rinah know. The March School Leadership Team Meeting will also be held that day, at 3:15pm. Please reach out to the SLT parent representatives if you want any specific school-wide concerns addressed. Email them at: email@example.com.
As hard as it is to fathom that it’s March, it’s harder still to realize that our Spring Vacation is around the corner. Spring Break is Monday 3/29 - Friday 4/2.
Have a wonderful month!