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02.11.21 - Reopening News + Town Hall




Principal's Letter

Dear Parents,

Big news this week! 

I know many of you are excited to have your children return to in-person learning. We are exploring several changes to our prior schedule. Although we have not worked them all out and this list is not comprehensive, I want to let you know what is being considered and attempted.  

Here is what I am thinking: 
  1.  The schedule for remote days will not change dramatically, although there will be some minor changes.  
  2.  We will be consolidating the small in-person sections to create larger in-person groups. While the students’ sections may change, their day and their teachers will remain the same.  
  3. Students’ in-person day will remain the same.  
  4. We hope to get all sixth graders on one bell schedule on their in-person day. Our goal is to have all sixth graders start at 9am and have four one-hour periods. They would be dismissed at 1pm. (This is the same schedule that the 7th and 8th graders have on their in-person day.)  
  5. We will be adding music and/or art to the sixth graders’ schedule on their in-person day.  
  6. There will be a group of students who will be in the building five days a week. This will provide them with a quiet environment with wi-fi in which to Zoom with their classes and teachers. Because of safety protocols, the students who will be in the school building five days a week will NOT be joining their live classes. 
  7. We will try to bring a second group in to school as well, but we cannot be sure that will be possible.  
  8. All the language and reading teachers will now be teaching in-person.  
  9. We will work to support teachers who wish to Zoom from the classroom with their 100% remote students.   
  10. With the schedule changes, sixth graders will no longer have language. 
  11. All students will retain the reading requirement, but may not have a library period. 
  12. All students will still have a PE/fitness requirement, although they may not have a PE period. 
Reopening Town Hall: I will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, February 22nd at 7:00 pm to discuss our reopening plans. 
Join the Zoom meeting
Meeting ID: 921 8655 3070 
Passcode: BTW 
One tap mobile+16465588656 

I will let sixth grade parents know as soon as I can (hopefully before February 22nd) about the change in arrival and dismissal times. I recognize that some of your children may feel apprehensive or unhappy about returning to the building. Many have gotten comfortable in their routine over the last few months. We will also schedule a meeting with the students to discuss the changes and address their feelings. 
Promotion in Doubt: Promotion-in-Doubt letters were emailed this week. Hopefully, they will incentivize students to begin working, attending class, and putting the necessary effort into school. Any sixth or seventh grader who failed (NX) humanities, math, or reading in the first or second (or both) marking periods received one. Any 8th grader who failed (NX) humanities, math, science, or reading in the first or second (or both) marking periods received one. This is a warning, not a definitive decision.  

Vacation: I hope your children enjoy some downtime over the next week.  I also hope they will find time to read each day. Happy Lunar New Year. 

Elana Elster

Please note that we can't accept food drive deliveries from Feb 12 – 21 because school building will be closed. Please schedule your donations for after the break, starting February 22. Thank you! 
Big thanks to everyone who baked cookies for our community this week! Well over 1000 cookies were distributed —thanks for sharing the love, Booker T.!
(Virtual hugs to Anne + Alison for organizing this effort!)
Intersectional health educator Justine Fonte shared some terrific resources and gave us a lot to think about at Tuesday's PTA meeting. If you want to learn more about how to talk to your kids about sex, gender, relationships + more, here are her recommendations.
The Equity Steering Committee gave a presentation at Tuesday's PTA meeting sharing data on school demographics, some of the initiatives they've worked on, and plans for the rest of the year. Their presentation slides have links to additional resources. 

Activity Guide
Spend some of your Mid-Winter vacation having fun with our Black Culture Appreciation Month Activity Guide! Check out our suggestions for media (films, books, music), restaurants and shopping!

Black Legends Slide Show
Students and teachers have collaborated on a slide show of notable Black figures and iconic happenings. The slideshow is on ( e-mail account required for access) with new content every day that school's in session this month!

Contribute to Our Black Culture Then + Now Showcase!

Help our students gather content from then (the past) and now to showcase how far we have come as a community, locally and nationally. Here are some ways you can participate!
  • Submit photos of participation in BLM Protests to Randee Johnson.
  • Contribute a video of your child sharing a speech (or part of one), a moving piece of literature (or part of one), or even a quote addressing what diversity, equity, and/or unity means to them. These video/audio clips can then be shared with our community. Please limit the submission to a maximum of 30 seconds.
And be sure to check out some of our other BCAM spaces!
School Meetings + Events

Weekend Winter Wellness Walk
February 14, 2021 @ 10:00 am
Riverside Park Community Garden at 91st Street

Join Wellness Chair Alison Gardy and other parents for a Valentine's Day walk through Riverside Park. Masks required, water suggested, children optional. Questions? E-mail Alison at

Reopening Town Hall
February 22, 2021 @ 7:00 pm
Join the Zoom meeting

Get the latest intel on school reopening from Dr. Elster at this special Town Hall. Questions welcome!

Wellness Meeting

February 26, 2021 @ 7:30 am
Join the Zoom meeting

Everyone is invited to join the monthly Wellness Meeting. Help us plan Wellness Day and share wellness ideas for our community. January Wellness Minutes

Booker T. Day
February 26, 2021 @ 9:15 -10:15 am
Professionals from a wide variety of career paths will share with students how they got to where they are and what they love about their work.

For more details, please consult the MS54 Calendar!
*Please note that there will be no PTA Coffee this month due to the Mid-Winter Break.

February Break - NO SCHOOL
February 12-19, 2021

Weekend Winter Wellness Walk
February 14, 2021 @ 10:00 am
Riverside Park at 91st Street;

Weekend Winter Wellness Walk
February 21, 2021 @ 10:00 am
Riverside Park at 91st Street;

Reopening Town Hall
February 22,  2021 @ 7:00 pm
Join the Zoom meeting

CEC3 Calendar Meeting
February 24, 2021 @ 6:30 pm

Register for the Zoom meeting

Wellness Meeting
February 26, 2021 @ 7:30 am
Join the Zoom meeting

Booker T. Day
February 26, 2021 @ 9:15 am

Final Day to Submit Non-Specialized High School Lists
March 1, 2021

DOE Info & Community Updates

Invest in Our NY Act Teach In
February 13, 2021 @ 10:00 am

NY’s public K-12 struggled before Covid-19, but now? A potential $60B deficit means budget cuts will be much worse. As NY’s budget is hashed out, Alliance for Quality Education is demanding NY electeds pass the Invest in Our NY Act, ending tax breaks for NY’s ultra-wealthy, generating $50B for better education. On February 13, 2021 at 10am, there is a teach-in about this non-partisan legislation critical to fully funding our schools complete with easy actions to let our voices be heard. 
Register for the meeting

Child Mind Institute Caregiver Support Workshops
The Child Mind Institute's upcoming free three-workshop series is designed to provide families with proactive strategies they can use to support their child's mental health and learning needs while virtually learning from home. For additional resources, please visit the Child Mind Institute.

Promoting Positive Behaviors for Your Child – Please register to learn more.

  • Motivating Your Child for Remote Learning – Part 1: February 17, 2021 @ 4:00 - 5:00pm
  • Motivating Your Child for Remote Learning – Part 2: February 23, 2021 @ 9:00am - 10:00am
  • Improving Your Relationship With Your Child: March 3, 2021 @ 4:00pm - 5:00pm
  • Parent Calming Techniques: March 9, 2021 @ 9:00 -10:00am

D3 Café Chat with Superintendent Christine Loughlin
February 22, 2021 @ 4:00 pm

Join the Zoom meeting

Discussion of Boys & Puberty with Dr. Cara Natterson & Vanessa Kroll Bennett
March 3rd, 2021 @ 8:00 pm
Looking for an an honest and practical conversation about boys and puberty? On March 3rd, Cara and Vanessa will discuss boys, puberty, and Cara's two new books: 
Guy Stuff Feelings and the paperback version of Decoding Boys. Their discussion will include the emotional lives of developing boys (critical right now), the challenges of gaming (major issue in the pandemic), and the importance of talking to our kids about pornography (ditto). Register for this FREE event on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 8pm.

Black History Month at NYPL
The New York Public Library celebrates Black History Month throughout February with live online events and programs, blog posts, recommended reading, and a wide array of digital resources available to anyone with a library card.

2021 Community and Citywide Education Council Applications 
To apply for an elected seat on a Community or Citywide Education Council, log into or create a NYC Schools Account. Get more information about Community and Citywide Education Councils, including what they do, eligibility to serve, and upcoming information sessions. Information sessions will be recorded and posted on Parent University.

Plan Your Active Holiday Breaks
Are you and your kids ready for the upcoming school break? Now is the perfect opportunity to set some active vacation goals! Check out Rising Ne w York Road Runners Active at Home for numerous activities to do as an individual and a family.

Young Writers Awards Competition
The New York Society Library is holding its 19th Annual Young Writers Awards Competition and Booker T students are eligible to participate. Find entry guidelines and information at Competition deadline is Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Riley's Way Call for Kindness
Teens who want to change the world can Answer the Call for Kindness and win up to $3,000 to fund their project idea. Applications close on April 7, 2021.

Hudson Guild SHSAT
This is a free tutoring program in partnership with Tutorverse for students in the 7th grade that are looking to take the SHSAT test in the 8th grade or need additional academic support. Families can apply by clicking the link here. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Middle School Program Director, Ashley Bermudez at or call/text (646) 883-4015. If SHSAT isn't for you, we also have free afterschool and a Learning Lab Program.

Tutoring Buddies
Tutoring Buddies is a program that pairs high school students (tutors) with elementary/middle school students who need help with school (tutees). Once the pairs are made, the students decide when they would like to meet and what subjects they would like help with (the pairs are made based off available times and subjects of interest). Sign up to receive free tutoring help.

DOE HS Admissions Webinars
Presentations will cover: updates to the admissions process for fall 2021, how to use the new features in MySchools, how High School and SHSAT offers are made, LaGuardia High School auditions, and Q&A. Sign up to attend.
Copyright © 2021 MS54 PTA, All rights reserved.

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