09112020: Delayed Opening, PTA Meeting + Class Parents
In this issue:

Principal's Letter:

Dear Parents: 

Chancellor Carranza has delayed the start of in-person learning for Middle Schools until October 1st. 

We will begin our year of learning on Monday, September 21st. All grades and classes start on Monday and will follow the schedule you have already received and the bell schedule noted on the schedules.The only difference will be that the classes that you were scheduled to have in the building will now be taught over Zoom. Your teachers will email the students the Google classroom codes and the Zoom links for their classes. 

If your children had issues joining the Zoom orientation sessions, you should contact the DOE Helpdesk at 718-935-5100. It is difficult to get through, but please hang in there. The kids need to get the issues resolved. If you have questions about a device that you requested from the city, please contact Ms. Pejovich to see about the status of the device. 

Our first "Booker Tech" Parent Class will take place on Thursday evening at 7PM via Zoom. We will cover the following topics: Google Classroom, Jupiter, and MS54 Tech. 

Time: Sep 24, 2020 07:00 PM 
Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 760 045 9088
One tap mobile
+16465588656,,7600459088# US (New York)

Please submit the school forms via Google Classroom to the homeroom teacher.  

I look forward to a successful, albeit remote beginning of real classes on Monday. I hope your children are engaged, excited, and challenged.  

Elana Elster 

$50K Raised through the Annual Appeal So Far!

Thank you to the 36 generous families who have donated to date!

Due to the constraints on in person fundraising opportunities this year, our goal is to raise more than we ever have through the Annual Appeal: $250,000.

In the past, we've requested that families donate $1000 per child. However if you are able to give more, this is the year to do so! And if $1000 isn't in your budget, whatever amount you're able to give is welcome and very much appreciated! Every donation gets us closer to our goal. We're hopeful that every family will try to give this year in whatever capacity is possible.

DOUBLE YOUR GIFT by looking up whether your employer has a matching gift program right on the donation page!

Donations are 100% tax deductible and of course, completely voluntary.

Please make your donation today to help pay for the unprecedented needs we are anticipating at the start of this very unusual year!


September 22: PTA Meeting + Anti-Anxiety Session

Wondering how to stay on top of all that's happening this year? Come to our monthly PTA meetings for the latest insights from Dr. Elster, updates on urgent issues, and community news. Plus, each month we'll host speakers on topics that are important to our families. This year we plan to hold all PTA meetings on Zoom.

Our first meeting is on September 22; our guest, Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, cognitive behavioral therapist and MS54 parent, will help allay our back-to-school anxieties and share guidance on keeping our families (and ourselves) sane. We ask that you pre-register for this meeting.
DATE: September 22
TIME: 7:00 PM
After registering, you'll receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Documents that will be reviewed include June's minutes, recommended revisions to this year's budget, and the Annual DOE Financial Report for last year. 

You can find a list of this year's PTA meeting dates on the calendar on the MS54 home page

Join the PTA Executive Board or SLT

We're looking for parents/guardians to join us on the Executive Board in the roles of:
  • Co-Treasurer 
  • Co-Assistant Treasurer (Annual Appeal)
  • Co-Corresponding Secretary
  • Co-Fundraising VP
  • 6th Grade Rep

These are all co-positions where incoming members will be paired with veterans who know the ropes. You can learn more about these roles in the MS54 PTA bylaws here (see page 3).

Additionally, we’re looking for helping hands for non-board, non-elected positions that are nonetheless essential:

  • Online Auction Chair
  • School Store Manager
Our School Leadership Team is also seeking parent nominees to help develop school-based educational policies in collaboration with the administration and teacher SLT members. Learn more about the SLT.

To express interest or nominate someone else, please email: by September 29. Elections will be held at the October 13, 2020, 7pm PTA meeting.

Volunteer to be a Class Parent

Booker T relies on its Class Parent network to communicate, organize, and help build community. Each homeroom needs at least one Class Parent. Since homerooms won't physically be together this year, we are hoping to recruit enough Class Parents to represent each Class Section.  If interested, please complete this Class Parent Interest Form.

Education Advocacy
Next week the CEC3 (the Upper West Side's Community Education Council) is holding their monthly meeting. The CEC3 is made up of elected parents who serve as our representatives to the NYC Department of Education. School safety, remote learning, equity, integration, and the desire (or lack thereof) of accelerated learning programs are frequent topics. Parents are given an opportunity to speak at the end of the meeting. If you have the time, attending these meetings is a good opportunity to ensure that the parents on the CEC are representing your viewpoints and your voice is heard.
DATE: Wednesday, September 23
TIME: 6:30 PM
After registering, you'll receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Neighborhood Food Drives to Continue This Fall

Heartfelt thanks to the families who contributed to the food drive this week. Our neighbors are so grateful. Many are working yet in need, wearing health aide and other essential employee uniforms when they come to our Friday distributions. 

If you can — please donate food on a weekly basis. Or, when you order online, have a portion delivered to MS54.

Donations are accepted from 7:30 am to 5 pm every weekday. You can continue to send food deliveries to MS54 at the West 108th Street entrance. We have now distributed over 400 bags of groceries to the community!

If you are in need of grocery assistance, please contact Anne McIntosh Pejovich at 347-563-5156 or

Wellness Committee Update

The Well @ 54 got off to a lively start on 9/15 with the launch of five initiatives:

  • Fun, social interactions to connect students
  • Physical fitness
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Communication strategies to link parents/guardians
  • Community service, such as the food drive

If you're interested in helping to develop these ideas, please join us! Email to help with a project or suggest your own.

Or just come one of our upcoming meetings:
Friday, October 16 @ 8:00 AM
Friday, November 13 @ 8:00 AM
Friday, December 18 @ 8:00 AM

School Store Item Pick Up

Please email Anne McIntosh Pejovich to arrange a time to pick up your School Store Summer Sale orders next week. Your kid will thank you!

There will be additional school store sales online throughout the year so be on the lookout! (And if you'd like to help out with School Store operations, please let us know by emailing!)

ICYMI: Forms + Supplies

Parents are required to complete the following forms: Safety Supplies (reviewed at last week's safety meetings):
  • An extra mask in addition to the one being worn
  • A face shield to use during snack time and/or for students with allergies
  • A water bottle with a straw (please label the bottle)
  • Extra hand sanitizer
  • A snack that can be eaten in five minutes
School Supplies 
  • 5   Composition books  (preferably 5 different colors) 
  • 1   Composition book with graph paper 
  • 1   8 ½ x 11 size spiral notebook (paper must be 8 ½ x 11) 
  • 10 Double pocket vinyl folders (as many different colors as possible) Vinyl is far more durable than paper folders 
  • Pens and pencils 
  • Calculator: 
    • 6th Graders: Scientific calculator (with √, π functions—TI-34 multi-view calculator preferred) 
    • 7th Graders: Preferred: Graphing calculator (TI 84 Plus)
      Acceptable: Scientific calculator with π, √ functions  
    • 8th Graders: Graphing calculator required for Regents math (TI84Plus)  

You will need these supplies at home: 

  • colored markers 
  • colored pencils 
  • loose-leaf paper 
  • 3x5/4x6 index cards 
  • 10 glue sticks NOT LIQUID 
  • 1 roll of scotch tape 
  • 1 small stapler 
  • white out 
  • 6 inch dual-sided ruler (in/cm) 
  • small scissors (approx. 5 inches) 
  • small pencil sharpener with cover for shavings 
  • graph paper – 1 pack 
Additionally, students will need a device - whether a laptop or tablet with a keyboard, your child will need to bring an electronic device on their in-school days. It must be fully charged as there are insufficient classroom outlets to accommodate student charging.

Students who do not have a device, should request one from the DOE. You can do so by completing this form If the you do not get one from the DOE, we will try to lend you one from the school. Your child can pick this up when they come into school on their first in-person day. Students who need a device and who are 100% remote will be notified when we have one ready for pick-up. The school devices do not have built in Wi-Fi
P-EBT Food Benefit Cards

Parents should have already received a P-EBT Food Benefit card which provides $420 in food benefits for each school-age child. Read this terrific Gothamist article to learn more. These cards are distributed by the state, not by Booker T, so if you have questions, please visit the NYS FAQ page or call 1-888-328-6399. If you are not in need of these additional funds, please consider donating $420 extra to the Annual Appeal.

DOE Info & Community Updates

Request a DOE Learning Device
The DOE is lending internet-enabled iPads to support remote learning for students. If your family has been sharing devices, or has unstable internet, a DOE iPad could be a big help. Here’s the link to request a device: 

Census 2020!
Help NYC get the funding and representation to which we are entitled by filling out the Census form today! Go to or call 844-330-2020 to complete your Census today. New York City’s future depends on it!
HOW: Go to There are just 10 questions and it takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Your answers are completely confidential, and there are NO questions about citizenship.
WHEN: The 2020 Census ends this month on September 30thPlease respond today!

Free Online Class for NYC Families from Inside Schools
Inside Schools launched “How to Support Online Learning at Home,” a free online class for NYC families. It was designed by InsideSchools editor in chief Dr. Tom Liam Lynch, a former education technology professor and parent of a soon-to-be middle schooler. You can take the class at your own pace and convenience. . 

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.

Events Calendar

September 22: PTA General Meeting at 7:00pm Register:  
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

September 23: CEC3 Calendar Meeting at 6:30pm Register: 
After registering, you'll receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

September 24: Booker Tech Parent Workshop at 7pm 
Zoom:, Meeting ID: 760 045 9088

September 25: SLT Meeting at 7:30

September 28: Yom Kippur, schools closed

October 1: First Day of In-Person School

October 2: Virtual Coffee with Dr. Elster

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 closed 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.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp