Dear BSI Community:
First, I want to welcome you back from February Break. It was great to see the cheerful faces of our children on Monday as they streamed in from the sidewalks and busses, some gleaming with new tans, others with newly braided or dyed hair, others with multiple lift tickets bouncing from their ski jackets.
Given the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I felt that it was particularly important that I was at the front door to greet our students on Monday.
Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and the survivors of the Parkland school shooting. I admire the Parkland students that are speaking out so strongly about issues related to school safety. At BSI, we are in the midst of planning how we will manage the National School Walkout that is scheduled for March 14. I will reach out when we have further guidance from the New York City Department of Education with respect to supporting students and staff that choose to participate.
As I mentioned in writing in November after the attack in Manhattan, the safety of our students is my first priority as a principal. In addition to mandatory fire drills, we conduct four lockdown drills during the school year. This year, we have already completed three, and we have another scheduled this month. During a lockdown drill, teachers quickly and calmly glance into the hallway for students that may be out of their own classroom, close and lock their door and turn off their lights. All students and the teacher/s move away from the door and are out of sight from the hallway. Mrs. Anna and I, along with other administrators in the building, sweep each floor and check all of the doors to ensure that they are locked and everyone is out of sight before we lift the lockdown drill. If students ask why we conduct lockdown drills, we instruct them that it is a way that we keep them safe in the event that there is a stranger in the building.
In addition to conducting drills, I meet monthly with a building council that includes teams from BSI, TAOTS, and K370. During our meetings, we discuss issues related to building safety, including reflecting on our drills so that we ensure lockdown and fire drills are smooth and stress-free for the students.
Our building has two safety agents. One agent is always stationed at the front door, and the other, when not seated at the front desk, conducts rounds to ensure that the hallways are safe and clear. The safety agents have radios that allow them to immediately contact NYPD in the event of an emergency. The building is equipped with cameras to monitor both the inside and outside of the school. Both the safety agents and school administrators have access to the video footage. I ask that no one enters the building from the back door during dismissal. Please be patient if you arrive late for pickup, and you are asked to go through the front door of the building.
At school, the staff and I are having conversations about how to address student concerns about the shooting, and we have shared resources internally published by the Teaching Tolerance and the Anti-Defamation League. These resources specifically address how to listen and respond to student inquiries about school shootings and other tragic events. To the best of our abilities, we will respect that some families do not want this event discussed. At the same time, adults in the building are prepared to support the students that express concern. In the middle school, we will be discussing what we can learn from the actions of the students in Parkland as we continue to reinforce the importance of using voice to be a change agent.
In closing, I want to ensure you that every day that your children step foot into BSI they are met with staff members that have their safety and best interests in mind. I am fortunate to be working with an incredible team of teachers and support staff that will use sound judgment when responding to student concerns and that are motivated to teach our students the importance of standing up for justice.
Thank you for reading. Have a peaceful day.
Grade Level Parent Meetings
In December, Mr. Havlik sent out an invitation to grade level meetings. We have already held 8th, 7th, and 6th-grade meetings. It has been a pleasure seeing those of you that could make it and we are looking forward to the rest of the meetings dates for which can be found below. All meetings will begin at 8:00am. During the first half of the meeting, the teachers will be there until 8:25am which is when they need to pick up their classes. During the second part of the meeting Mr. Havlik, Ms. Moshur, and Ms. Ferguson will be available for any questions, event briefings or any other things that are on your mind.
- Grade 5 3/6/18
- Grade 4 3/13/18
- Grade 3 3/20/18
- Grade 2 3/27/18
- Grade1 4/10/18
- Grade K 4/24/18
Parent Teacher Conferences
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday, March 15th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm and 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Parent Teacher Conference online registration will be sent out on March 6th.
ELA 4/11/18-4/12/18 ELA Make-Up Dates: April 16-18
Math 5/1/18- 5/2/18 Math Make-Up Dates: May 4-9
Since the tests will happen shortly after we come back from recess that starts on March 30th, we are including some information in this newsletter.
Like last year, this year’s exams are untimed. As long as students are continuing to work productively, they will be able to work at their own pace, and all students, including those with accommodations, may turn in the exam when they are finished.
Please make sure your children get a good night’s sleep and nutritious breakfast before each testing day. When speaking to your child about the test, it is important to minimize the stress and anxiety that tests often produce by simply encouraging them to do their very best, without putting too much emphasis on a particular outcome.
What happens during test administration if a student is absent?
If a student is absent during test administration, the school will administer the test during the make-up period. If a student is also absent during the make-up period the student will not be tested.
Bullying Prevention Curriculum Launch
In February we launched a new initiative called Bullying Prevention. The goal of the Bullying Prevention Curriculum is to teach children skills for being safe and respectful; recognizing, reporting, and refusing bullying; and being a bystander who helps prevent bullying.
What Students Learn
- How to recognize bullying and that bullying is mean or hurtful behavior that keeps happening
- To identify caring adults to talk to about bullying and use assertiveness skills to report it
- That they can use assertiveness skills to refuse to let bullying happen to themselves and others
- And that bystanders have the power to stop bullying by including others, standing up for them, and reporting bullying when they see it happen
What Adults Learn
School staff goes through online training that helps them recognize and respond to bullying and distinguish bullying from peer conflict.
Since students are learning to report bullying to an adult when it happens, all staff learn how to take a student’s bullying report and ensure the safety of the student. They also learn ways to prevent and intervene in bullying and practice following through with both the student or students doing the bullying and the student being bullied.
Blog Emails and Communication
If you find yourself not receiving class emails or blog updates please put your name and email down in this form.
Middle School News
Below you will find the results of the election that took place on February 15th. Ms. Waters will be meeting with our student government every Friday during lunch and recess.
Student government will consist of two students in each position. We expect that the leadership responsibilities will be shared, and two students in each position will allow for more collaboration and a wider range of viewpoints.
Students that were elected to represent our community:
- Co-Presidents: Morgan Q (8th) and Ben K (7th)
- Co-Vice-Presidents: Milo S (7th) and Ethan L (6th)
- Co-Secretaries: Jillian M (8th) and Audrey O (6th)
- Co-Treasurers: Lewis H (7th) and Lucca Z (7th)
- Julia C & Henry K (6th)
- William Bhuiyan & Aiden M (7th)
- Amia M, Nora A & Michelle Z (8th)
Congratulations to our new members of the student government!
Overnight Field Trips
Overnight field trips are being planned for grades 5 through 8.
- Grade 8 – Boston Trip March 19-21
- Grade 7 – In the works
- Grade 6 – PEEC April 16-18
- Grade 5 – In the works
If anyone has any SHSAT prep materials that they no longer need the school will happily take them and make available for middle school students through a sign-out process.
Also, if anyone needs SHSAT materials we already have a small inventory of materials that can be signed out by students.
(for details go to the main calendar and click on the event)