09252020: Class Parents Needed + PTA/SLT Elections
In this issue:

Principal's Letter

Dear Parents,
It was WONDERFUL to have students in the school building!   
It definitely felt different – small classes, masked and shielded students and faculty, and quiet hallways. What didn’t feel different were the first day jitters and excitement, the optimism about the year ahead, students excited to see each other and meet new classmates, and the caring and creative teachers. 
I am looking forward to the days ahead when everyone will rotate through. Please refer to my letter from Thursday that contains important information for you to know before your child’s first day in the building
I want to remind you to continue to have daily conversations with your children about safe practice outside your home. Our community is relying on everyone’s vigilance. 
Elana Elster 

PTA/SLT Election News

The fall PTA/SLT election will take place October 13 at 7:00 pm via Zoom. All parents & guardians are eligible and encouraged to vote! We ask that you preregister for this PTA meeting in advance using your full name so that we can verify that your child is a student at the school before the meeting. Voting will take place using Zoom's anonymous polling feature (that we used last week to approve the budget). If you are not a parent/guardian, you will be placed in a waiting room during the election and welcomed back to the meeting afterwards. PTA positions will be voted on first, followed by the SLT election.

Nominations have been received for the following positions:
  • Co-Treasurer
  • Co-Corresponding Secretary
  • Sixth Grade Representative
  • SLT Parent Representatives
We are still seeking candidates for Co-Fundraising VP to work alongside our amazing veteran fundraiser Colleen Welker.

Please read the bios of all our candidates before the meeting. Additionally, to keep things exciting, we will also be accepting nominations from the floor on election night. If you have any questions about the elections, please email:

October PTA Meeting + Elections

Please register in advance for our October PTA meeting and election which will be held on October 13 at 7:00 pm. All parents & guardians are eligible and encouraged to vote! Elections will be held for open PTA Executive Board positions followed by the SLT election.

Please note that due to the election, we will not have a guest speaker at this meeting. 

October PTA Meeting + Elections
Date: Oct 13, 2020
Time: 7:00 PM
After registering, and being confirmed as a current parent or guardian, you will receive a confirmation email containing a link to join the meeting.

How About Donating that $420 to the Annual Appeal?

Have you spent the $420 you received on your child's P-EBT card? Or is the card sitting in your mail pile or in a drawer? Please use it — when else do you get free money?! You can spend it at the grocery store or farmer's market, then donate what you saved to the Annual Appeal! Of course, you can also buy groceries for the family food drive with it, or donate the funds to another worthy cause. Regardless of your choice, please USE the card!

Donations to the Annual Appeal are 100% tax deductible and, of course, completely voluntary.

Fundraising Meeting Monday, October 5

With an unusual set of constraints at this time, we're looking for creative ideas and enthusiastic leaders for this year's fundraising efforts. Join us Monday, October 5 at 9:30 am to discuss and plan the virtual events and sales, including an epic online auction, that will enable us to continue providing our school with the funds it so desperately needs. Both fundraising veterans and newbies are welcome!!

Fundraising Meeting
Time: Oct 5, 2020 09:30 AM
Meeting ID: 937 4942 8482.    Passcode: 793051
+16465588656,,93749428482#,,,,,,0#,,793051# US (New York)

Last Call for Class Parents!

Booker T relies on its Class Parent network to build our school community and only takes a few hours a month. We are hoping to recruit enough Class Parents to represent each Class Section.
  • 6th Grade Families: We are still looking for class parents for the following sections: 6B2, 6B3, 6B4, 6B5, 6B6, 6B7, 6B8, 6B9, 6B11, 6B13, 6B14, 6B15, 6B16, 6E18, 6E19, 6E20, 6E21, 6E22, 6E24, 6E25, 6E26, 6E28, 6E29, 6E30, 6E31.
  • 7th Grade Families: We are still looking for class parents for the following sections: 7A3, 7A5, 7A6, 7A8, 7A9, 7A10, 7A11, 7A12, 7A14, 7C16, 7C17, 7C18, 7C20, 7C21, 7C22, 7C23, 7C24, 7C25, 7C26, 7C27, 7E33, 7E34.
  • 8th Grade Families: We are still looking for class parents for the following sections: 8A2, 8A3, 8A4, 8A5, 8A6, 8A7, 8A8, 8A9, 8A11, 8A12, 8A13, 8A14, 8C16, 8C17, 8C18, 8C19, 8C20, 8C22, 8C23, 8C24, 8C27, 8C28, 8C29, 8C30, 8C31.
If you are a parent in one of these sections, please complete this Class Parent Interest FormSAVE THE DATE! There will be a welcome meeting for all Class Parents on October 6 at 7:00 pm.

Auction Wrap Up
The PTA is working to wrap up loose ends from this spring's Auction. With the Auction ending just as the lockdown began some items were impossible to deliver at the time. If you haven't yet received your auction winnings, please email and we'll track them down as soon as possible!

Art Portfolios Available for Pick up!
Portfolios from last year's after school art class through the Jewish Museum have been found!  Please email to arrange a pick-up time.

Wellness Update

Dr. Elster has instituted a daily Wellness Tip during each day of in-person school! The tip will be delivered during snack time over the PA system by Ryan Center nurses, Sabrina Brown and Kaitlyn Hansen. Feel free to send your favorite Wellness Tips to

Check out our new Wellness page on our school website:

A great way to beat the pandemic blues is to do something for someone else. Click on the MS54 PTA Food Drive Wish List to contribute to our school food drive! Select, pay, and you're done! No need to worry about the delivery address or delivery time. The NYCDOE drastically reduced the number of schools hosting grab-'n-go meals and their hours of operation. Our school food drive is more important than ever!

Here are other wellness-boosting tips from "Happiness Professor" Dr. Laurie Santos.

Want to get involved in the physical, mental, and social health of our community? The next Wellness Meeting will be on Friday, October 30 at 7:30 AM. Please mark your calendars; the zoom link will be sent out in the Fri day, Oct 23 newsletter.

Reach out anytime to

Equity Team Update

Equity Team 9/30/2020 Meeting Summary

At 7pm on September 30, 2020, we held our first virtual Equity Team meeting of the year. We had 20-25 MS54 community members in attendance, including parents, teachers, staff, and administration.

The Equity Steering Committee (Ms. Zipkin, Ms. Johnson, & Dr. Scott-Clayton) led a simple agenda:

  • Meet & greet (introductions)

  • Describe background and general goals of the Equity Team

  • Open discussion of equity issues, especially as related to remote learning, COVID-19, and current events.

The conversation that followed raised three specific issues: how to provide more support and resources for fully-remote readers with limited access to books at home; whether the “cameras on” attendance requirement might be experienced as intrusive and draining for some students who are already under stress; and what resources are available for students in need of additional emotional support and/or counseling.

Meeting notes and next steps will be posted on the Equity Team website: We will plan another meeting in 4-6 weeks, specific date and time TBD.


Resumen de la reunión del equipo de equidad 30/9/2020 (Traducido a través de Google. Perdone nuestros errores.)

A las 7 pm del 30 de septiembre de 2020, celebramos nuestra primera reunión virtual del Equipo de Equidad del año. Asistieron entre 20 y 25 miembros de la comunidad de la escuela MS54, incluidos padres, maestros, personal y administración.

El Comité Directivo de Equidad (Sra. Zipkin, Sra. Johnson y Dr. Scott-Clayton) dirigió una agenda simple:

  • Meet & greet (presentaciones)

  • Describir los antecedentes y los objetivos generales del Equipo de Equidad.

  • Discusión abierta sobre temas de equidad, especialmente en lo relacionado con el aprendizaje remoto, COVID-19 y eventos actuales.

La conversación que siguió planteó tres cuestiones específicas: cómo proporcionar más apoyo y recursos para lectores totalmente remotos con acceso limitado a libros en casa; si el requisito de asistencia de "cámaras encendidas" puede ser percibido como intrusivo y agotador para algunos estudiantes que ya están bajo estrés; y qué recursos están disponibles para los estudiantes que necesitan apoyo emocional y / o asesoramiento adicional.

Las notas de la reunión y los próximos pasos se publicarán pronto en el sitio web del Equity Team: Planificaremos otra reunión en 4-6 semanas, fecha y hora específicas por determinar.

DOE Info & Community Updates

The COVID-19 Report Card
Governor Cuomo launched the COVID-19 Report Card, an online Dashboard Tracking Real-Time COVID-19 infections and testing operations of every New York School and School District.

Inside Schools+
Building on the popularity of the InsideSchools website, InsideSchools+  provides discussion groups for families to share information and resources about a wide range of school-related topics, including a dedicated En Español group launching next week. In addition, there's online classes designed specifically for NYC families. Their first class has 200+ participants and helps families prepare for learning online at home

Free + Low Cost Internet Options
The DOE has shared resources for accessing free or low cost internet options:

2020 Census Extended!
A federal judge has ruled that the 2020 Census count will not end early, continuing until the end of October. It is absolutely essential — for fair representation in government and funding for affordable housing, our schools, and hospitals — that all New Yorkers participate in the Census. Go to or call 844-330-2020 to complete your Census today — it's fast and confidential. New York City’s future depends on it.

Free Math Tutoring Program from Common Denominator
Common Denominator, formerly known as Top Honors, will offer their FREE math tutoring program virtually for the 2020-2021 school year. They are accepting applications for students who will be enrolled in the 5th-8th grades starting fall 2020.

Free Peer to Peer Tutoring with Homeroom
Homeroom is a free, nationwide, peer to peer tutoring program that began at the start of COVID-19. Since then, they have provided both one on one tutoring and small group classes (3-4 students). Their support is offered for students in grades K-12, in all subjects, and four languages (English, French, Spanish, Chinese). 

Events Calendar

October 5: Fundraising Meeting @ 9:30 am
Meeting ID: 937 4942 8482.    Passcode: 793051

October 6: Welcome meeting for all Class Parents on October 6 @ 7:00 pm. Parents completing the Class Parent Interest Form will be invited to attend.

October 8: Back to School Night @ 7:00 pm. This is your chance to meet your children's teachers via zoom. A schedule with specific zoom links will be sent via email.

October 13: October PTA Meeting + Elections @ 7:00 pm. Please register in advance. 
After being confirmed as a current parent or guardian, you will receive a confirmation email containing a link to join the meeting.

Staying In the Know

While we endeavor to keep you well informed through this newsletter each week, inevitably topics and conversations come up throughout the week.
Join our Facebook group - a private group of parents, teachers, and staff where information is shared and issues of interest to the community are discussed. Once a member of our group, anyone can post and share articles and messages with our school community. You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

The website is also an important resource. You'll find calendars, directories, meeting minutes, forms, and information on topics including equity and wellness. It has a fresh new look thanks to parent Yun Joo Shin, and content updates will be rolling out as the school year gets underway.
Amazon Reminder
Before you shop on Amazon, please use this link: or click on the Amazon logo on our website. That way, MS54 gets a percentage of every dollar you spend (at no cost to you!). Thanks, everyone!!
Copyright © 2020 MS54 PTA, All rights reserved.

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