110620: Weekly Updates + New School Store!
In this issue:

Principal's Letter

Dear Parents: 
Voting continues to make me teary. I remember always going with my parents to vote and getting to pull that big red lever. I also remember the lecture both to and from the polling place about both how it is both a privilege and an obligation to vote. And, I chuckle at how I have done the same thing as a parent.  It’s been an interesting and especially important week to be a teacher. (Remember you are your child’s primary teacher.) Here at school and I am sure at home, there have been so many interesting lessons and conversations surrounding the elections. I am proud that so many of the students have been keeping the discussions going both in class and outside of class.  
Learning Preferences (100% Remote or In-Person Learning) 

The Department of Education has released the procedure and calendar for updating your child’s learning preferences. Families wishing to opt back in to in-person school may do so beginning on Monday, November 2nd. The window will be open from Monday until Sunday, November 15th.   

If your child is currently 100% remote and you wish to opt back in, please complete the Learning Preference Survey at note that this is your only remaining opportunity for the remainder of the school year to opt back in. 

If you do not want to change your child’s learning preferences, you do not have to do anything.  
Parent-Teacher Conferences 
Parent-Teacher Conferences will take place via Zoom on November 18th (evening) and November 19th (afternoon.) Using an online bookings system, parents will have an opportunity to sign up for brief meetings with the teachers. Details on how to schedule a meeting will be sent out via Jupiter early next week. If your child is having an issue in a particular class or across the board, please do not wait until the conferences to contact the teachers or guidance counselors. These conferences are a BRIEF (5 minute) check-in and are not designed for longer conversations. 

First Marking Period 

The First Marking Period ends on Friday, November13th.   
Elana Elster 

Thanksgiving Pie Sale Ends TONIGHT!!

Don't miss your chance to buy a delicious handmade pie!
Make your Turkey Day a little easier (and more delicious!) with a handmade pie from a small NYC bakery! Pies are $25 each and serve eight generous slices. Choose from:
  • Classic Apple - Tart apples & cinnamon in a flakey crust
  • Apple Crumb - Classic apple pie with a crumbly streusel topping
  • Brownie Pie - A gooey favorite topped with walnuts and chocolate
Pies will be available for pick up at MS54 on Tuesday, November 24 from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. Not in town for the holiday? Please consider buying a pie to donate to a local shelter.

Introducing the MS54 School Store!

Don't you wish you could buy classic Booker T Spirit Gear anytime you wanted? Now you can!!

We've opened our own School Store site that's open all year round to sell your favorite hoodies, zippies, and T's. We've also got cozy PJ bottoms and sweatpants, and even MS54 beanie caps! Best of all, you'll get your items within just a few days -- no more waiting! 


Who's Trotting with Us?

Over 200 people have signed up for Booker T's First Annual Virtual Turkey Trot raising nearly $5,000 to help support programs, staff, and supplies for our amazing school! There are 28 different teams that you can join when you sign up or you can create your own!

Throughout the month of November, you can run or walk these distances anywhere on your own time: 1 mile, 5k (3.1 miles), or 10k (6.2 miles). You can even do it over several days. The suggested fee is $20 for adults; participants under 18 are free! In order to encourage as many participants as possible, there is also a "Pay as You Wish" option.

Need some encouragement? Sign up to join one of our socially distanced Weekend Wellness Walks (Sunday mornings on 11/8 and 11/15 @ 10:00 in Riverside Park @ 91st Street)!


West Side Campaign Against Hunger Turkey Challenge

Make this a Thanksgiving for everyone! Help provide Thanksgiving and other holiday food for New Yorkers in need. Buy a Turkey or Text a Turkey (text TURKEY to 56512 using your smartphone). $54 supports 3 families! MS54 is a partner in this important campaign. Read WSCAH Turkey Challenge flyer for more info.

Students Invited to Join Shades

Shades, the MS54 multicultural affinity group, meets by Zoom every Friday at 8am, led by Ms. Johnson, Mrs. Weisz, and Ms. Mason Students interested in joining or who have questions should email the teachers above so they can join the conversation.

Upcoming PTA Meetings & Events:

General Meeting: Tuesday, November 10 @ 7:00 pm
Our guest speakers are a panel of HS students from some of the non-specialized and performance high schools that eighth grade students might be considering: Beacon, Clinton, Frank McCourt, Nest+M, LaGuardia, and Frank Sinatra. The panel will be moderated by MS54 Alums: Marina Gallo and Talulah Lametrie. Please register in advance for this meeting.
Time: Nov 10, 2020 07:00 PM
Click here for the draft of the October meeting's minutes.

School Leadership Team: Friday, November 13 @ 7:20am 
Any member of the MS54 community who wishes to observe the meeting may email in advance for the Zoom link.

SAVE THE DATE! Broadway Night is December 6!
Missing Broadway? Us, too! That's why we're going to bring the talent to you on Sunday night, December 6! We have an incredible lineup of Broadway stars, cabaret crooners and local legends. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more info!

Holiday Shopping Help from MS54
How is it the Holiday Season already? Don't worry! We've got easy solutions for all your holiday needs from cards and gift wrap to the must-have items of the season. And best of all, the more you shop, the more you benefit MS54! Be on the lookout for more Holiday Helper news next week!

Wellness Update

Do you feel exhausted? Foggy-brained? We’ve had to reassess and reinvent the most routine details of our daily lives. Activities we took for granted now involve life-or-death decisions. On top of that, national elections have brought a new level of stress and awareness. (Our kids’ math skills, though, are getting a workout!) Have you discovered coping strategies for our times? Are you interested in learning some? Come share at the next Wellness Meeting on Friday, November 20 at 7:30 am
Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 931 3080 0366; Passcode: 144243

Our MS54 "Family to Family" Community Service Initiative is more important than ever! While long lines form outside food pantries, at Booker T., we are feeding families in need. Our community’s ongoing generosity has made a difference. You can order from our MS54 PTA Food Drive Wish List or shop locally. Stay tuned for the Thanksgiving dinner items we’re adding to the wish list — everything but the turkey! This effort is ongoing. Keep it up, Booker T.! THANK YOU!

DOE Info & Community Updates

Healthy Internet Use: Is It Possible?
A free 30-minute webinar for parents and caregivers from the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at NYU Langone. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of screen time per day but the average teenager spends approximately four hours online daily. Is this a problem? Or not? In this webinar we will discuss problematic internet use, what makes newer media so addictive and how to establish healthy use of family electronics, even during COVID.
DATE: Tuesday, November 10, 2020
TIME: 1:00 – 1:30pm

Workshop for Parents and Parent Coordinators 
This workshop will help participants to recognize when a child’s worries are signs of anxiety that can be treated. The workshop leader will introduce several types of anxiety disorders common in children and teens, as well as their signs, symptoms, and steps that can be taken to intervene.
DATE: Monday, November 16, 2020
TIME: 4:00 – 5:30pm
Google Registration Form: 

Video Gaming Opportunities and Problems in Children and Adolescents
A free 1-hour webinar for parents and caregivers from the Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at NYU Langone. Many children and adolescents spend a good deal of their leisure time engaged in video gaming. In this webinar, Dr. Victor Pereira-Sanchez will provide an overview of the risks of video gaming and the opportunities to prevent and manage them.
DATE: Thursday, November 19, 2020
TIME: 6:30 - 7:30 pm

Dial a Teacher Program
UFT Dial a Teacher is up & running for the school year. K-12 students and their parents or caregivers are invited to call 212-777-3380 or visit the Dial-A-Teacher website Mondays through Thursdays between 4 and 7 pm. to get free homework help from a licensed teacher. Many of the teachers are bilingual, so Dial-A-Teacher can assist students and families in 10 languages, including Armenian, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog.

FLAG Award for Teacher Excellence Nominations Open Until 12/15
The FLAG Award recognizes and celebrates extraordinary public-school teachers who inspire learning through creativity, passion, and commitment. One grand-prize winner from each of NYC’s five boroughs will receive a $25,000 cash prize and finalists will each receive $10,000. The winning teachers’ schools will each receive $10,000 and each finalist’s school will receive $2,000 for arts-based initiatives designed by the award recipient. For more information and to nominate a teacher, visit

Events Calendar

Now through November 30: 
Participate in MS 54's First Annual Turkey Trot!

November 10 at 7:00 pm: General PTA Meeting

November 13 at 7:20 am: SLT Meeting 
Any member of the MS54 community who wishes to observe the meeting may email in advance for the Zoom link.

November 20 at 7:30 amWellness Meeting   
Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 931 3080 0366; Passcode: 144243

December 6: Broadway Night -- SAVE THE DATE!

Parent Resources

While we endeavor to keep you well informed through this newsletter, inevitably topics and conversations come up throughout the week. Here are ways to stay in the know:

The website is also an important resource. You'll find calendars, directories, meeting minutes, forms, and information on topics including equity and wellness.

Our Facebook group is a private group of parents, teachers, and staff where information is shared and issues are discussed. Members can post and share articles and messages with our school community. 

The btwms54pta Instagram is a place to get visual inspiration and motivation from images, recipes, quotes and more.
Copyright © 2020 MS54 PTA, All rights reserved.

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