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05.21.21: Student Talent Night, Picture Day, and lots more!




Principal's Letter

Dear Parents:

It was nice to see so many of you at various meetings throughout last week — Equity, with Superintendent Loughlin, SLT, and Wellness. You are always welcome to join us if you have not been before!

I hope that you will take a few minutes this week to complete this year's School Survey. (Families should enter “f” followed by their child’s nine-digit Student Identification [OSIS] Number to access the survey. Note that “f” must be lowercase.) I need/Booker T. needs your feedback and we also need the DOE to see your feedback, too. While we have not been able to do what you want most — to get your children back in more, we have tried to provide a strong educational program and supports for your children. Thank you in advance for completing it. 

On Thursday afternoon, the Wellness Committee hosted our first One School Lunch. The goal was to give sixth graders an opportunity to get to know other students and to meet new people. While we tried to separate the students as best as we could, some landed in groups of familiar students. We mixed the students up in the midst of the event, to give them more opportunities to meet other students. The students had a good time connecting and being with each other. After the sixth-grade lunches, we will expand to the seventh grade.

I am very excited and relieved to let you know that we have a venue, date, and a tentative time for GRADUATION! Graduation will be on Wednesday, June 16th in the late afternoon at Marcus Garvey Park. I am grateful to the members of the parent committee who have been instrumental in helping to explore our options and in securing this location. Marcus Garvey Park has a small amphitheater which will hold all of the students at the same time. At the moment, we have been given clearance to have 500 people. We are hoping that this number will increase and that each graduate may be able to have at least one if not two guests present. We will continue to monitor this. In the meantime, mark your calendars. 


A successful 6th Grade social! Last Sunday, 15 families, Ms. Cardona, and Dr. Elster met up in Central Park for a bike ride + ice cream outing. Thanks to all who joined and braved Harlem Hill to be sporty + social. Extra thanks to Sixth Grade Rep Lee Uehara for leading the event!
Join other 7th grade families on Saturday, May 22nd at 11am at Ellington in the Park in Riverside Park at 105th Street for a Kite Flying Social! Bring a kite, picnic, swing the rings, and more. Thanks to everyone who RSVP'd. Ms. Pasiak has won the bouquet of flowers for most homeroom attendance! Even if you haven't RSVP'd, please come by. We look forward to seeing you! 
There is a special meeting on Monday, May 24th at 7:00pm to vote on bylaws changes adding seats for Equity Team and Wellness Committee parent representatives to the PTA Executive Board. These changes were previewed at the May 11th PTA meeting and are summarized HERE. The specific bylaw edits to be voted on are HERE. Questions? Email  Register HERE to join.
Coffee + Welcome for New 6th Grade Parents on Thursday, June 3rd from 9-10am. Come meet current MS54 parents while your child takes their assessment.  We'll have a welcome table with coffee and morning treats in the West 107th Street courtyard entrance.
Please RSVP so we know how much coffee to order.  Questions? Email
6th Grade Field Day is Tuesday, June 8th from 10:30am - 1pm. Come celebrate the end of sixth grade with fun, outdoor, masked + socially-distanced activities in Central Park. Please RSVP for the exact location; this is a parent-led (not school) event and NOT a drop-off!
Questions? Email:
Talent Search! We want to hear our 6th and 7th grade students sing as we plan our musical for next year! Students will be provided something to sing. Interested students should sign-up for a day that they're at school. (We'll meet at the flagpole at 1:15pm.) If you're a remote family, please email 
and we will arrange a "Zoom Sing"!
Please help!  Our food drive is running low on cereal, cookies, oatmeal, cooking oil, tuna, beans (dry or canned), peanut butter, and jelly. Please use the MS54 Amazon Wish List or support your local grocer as you shop for our 40 families in need. 
Student Talent Night Is June 10th!
If you thought our teachers were awesome, wait until you see the Student Talent Show!

Date: Thursday, June 10th
Time: 6:00pm
Place: Your Living Room!
Cost: Pay-As-You-Wish — There are donation options of $50, $20, or $10, per family; contributions of any amount are always welcome!

You'll receive the Zoom link on your donation receipt.
Nominations Due for PTA Board, SLT, + Family Healing Ambassador!
Nominations are due Tuesday, May 25 for a number of elected parent positions! PTA Executive Board roles include:
  • Co-Presidents
  • Co-VPs of Communications
  • Treasurers
  • Assistant Treasurers
  • Co-VPs of Fundraising
  • Co-Recording Secretaries
  • Grade Reps
  • And, presumably, Equity Team + Wellness Committee Leads (please join our special meeting on May 24th to vote on these new positions).
SLT nominations are also due May 25. There are four open seats, with one reserved for the fall elections.

Additionally, there is a NEW elected position for Family Healing Ambassador. This is a new role created and supported by the DOE to help school communities recover from pandemic-induced trauma. The Family Healing Ambassador will participate in a 4-part professional learning series then facilitate a session for families at their school. They will also receive a $500 stipend from the DOE. Read more about this new position here.

Please submit all nominations to by May 25th! Nominations will also be accepted from the floor on election night, June 8 at 7:00 pm.

Picture Days are Coming Up!
Sixth and seventh graders will be photographed on their in-person day indicated below. Eighth graders who wish to be photographed, can do so at 1pm. All pictures will be taken outside.
  • Cohort A -Monday, May 24
  • Cohort B -Tuesday, May 25
  • Cohort C -Wednesday, June 2
  • Cohort E -Thursday, June 10
Parents will be emailed directly by Irvin Simon Photographers when the proofs are ready, which should be approximately three weeks after picture day. Students who are 100% remote or who do not wish to be photographed, may email a picture of themselves (from the chest up) to The subject should be their first and last name. 
We've Raised Over $10,000!

We've got 10 days to go before the end of the challenge! Help us reach our goal of $15,000 by contributing to your child's homeroom, a participating friend (or PTA co-president), your favorite principal or a participant who hasn't received any donations yet!

If you haven't registered yet, there is still time to JOIN over 100 other MS54 friends working their way toward a goal of 54 something while fundraising for our school.

Equity Team Updates

On May 19th we held an open Equity Meeting to share updates, begin thinking ahead to the next school year and developing a vision for addressing the needs and gaps created by the pandemic. In particular, the conversation focused on three topics: whether Equity should have a formal role within the SLT, how to ensure more equitable access to devices and high-speed internet given the increased usage of educational technology, and how to welcome students back to in-person school in a way that re-engages their love of learning and supports both their socio-emotional and academic needs. 

We also encouraged everyone to come to the short meeting on Monday, May 24th to vote on the PTA proposal to add elected Equity and Wellness positions to the PTA Board. If this proposal passes, elections for these new positions will take place at the PTA meeting on June 8th.

Please also hold the date for our last meeting of the year on Wednesday, June 16th at 7pm. Register in advance for this meeting.

Finally, as we continue to honor Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month, check out this data-driven blog post describing and debunking the insidious “perpetual foreigner" stereotype.

Read more about the goals of the Equity Team and summaries of past meetings.
School Meetings + Events

7th Grade Kite Flying Social
May 22, 2021 @ 11:00am 
Join other 7th grade families at Ellington in the Park in Riverside Park at 105th Street for the 7th Grade Kite Flying Social! Bring a kite, picnic, swing the rings, and more. Thanks to everyone who RSVP'd. Ms. Pasiak has won the bouquet of flowers for biggest homeroom attendance! Even if you haven't RSVP'd, please join us. We look forward to seeing you! 

Sunday Wellness Walks @ 10am — Counts towards 54 for 54 Challenge!
May 23 & 30, 2021
Riverside Park Community Garden at 91st Street

Join Wellness Chair Alison Gardy and other parents for a walk through Riverside Park and help meet your 54 for 54 Challenge! Masks required, water suggested, children optional. Questions? Email Alison at

Nominations Due for June PTA/SLT Elections
May 25, 2021
Send nominations to:

Picture Days
Sixth and seventh graders will be photographed on their in-person day indicated below. Eighth graders who wish to be photographed, can do so at 1pm. All pictures will be taken outside. Irvin Simon Photographers will send an online code to view and order portraits a few weeks after picture day.
Cohort A -Monday, May 24
Cohort B -Tuesday, May 25
Cohort C -Wednesday, June 2
Cohort E -Thursday, June 10

Anniversary Day/Chancellor's Conference Day for Staff Development
June 3, 2021

Reading & Math Assessments for Incoming Sixth Graders
June 3, 2021
Students (with two #2 pencils and their OSIS student ID # on a piece of paper) must be at the school at 8:45am so that the assessment can begin at 9am. After an hour, students will stop working regardless of how much they have completed. Students must complete the DOE Health Screener before being admitted. Parents are welcome to wait in the school courtyard on 107th St. where there will be coffee  + light breakfast, with PTA Executive Board members to chat + answer questions. Please complete this survey to help us prepare.

PTA Coffee Chat with Dr. Elster
June 4, 2021 @ 8:00am
Join Dr. Elster and the PTA for the last chat of the school year! Bring your questions + end of year thoughts.

Clerical Day 
June 8, 2021

Sixth Grade Field Day!
June 8, 2021 from 10:30 - 1:00 pm

Come celebrate the end of the year with fun, outdoor, masked + socially-distanced activities in Central Park. Please RSVP for the exact location; this is a parent-led (not school) event and NOT a drop-off! Questions? Email:

June PTA Elections + Meeting
June 8, 2021 @ 7:00 + 7:30pm 
Current MS54 parents are invited to register for the election at 7:00.
All members of our community are welcome to register for the last PTA meeting of the school year at 7:30 pm.

New Parent Welcome Event
June 9, 2021 @ 6:30 pm
All new families are invited to a welcome event hosted by Dr. Elster. Please register to join. After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the meeting.

MS54 SLT Meeting
June 11, 2021, 7:20 – 8:20am
Any member of the MS54 community who wishes to observe the meeting may email in advance for the Zoom link.  

Equity Team Meeting
June 16, 2021 @ 7:00pm

Register in advance for this meeting. For more info, contact

June 16, 2021 in the afternoon
Graduation will be in the Marcus Garvey Park amphitheater in the afternoon. The exact time is still TBD as we sort out details. More info to come soon!

Wellness Meeting
June 18, 2021 @ 7:30 am
Join Zoom Meeting. Contact for more info.

For more details, please consult the MS54 Calendar!

DOE Info & Community Updates

New items are listed below. To see previously listed but still active notices, please see the DOE Info and Community Updates page on the MS54 website.

D3 Cafe with Supt. Loughlin
May 24, 2021 @ 4:30pm
D3 Cafes are your opportunity to ask Superintendent Loughlin questions and share what's on your mind. 
Join Zoom Meeting 
Meeting ID: 377 751 6647
Passcode: 063260

2021 Chancellor Spring Forums
Manhattan on May 24, 2021, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
The Chancellor wants to hear questions that families may have and get your feedback on School Reopening. Chancellor Porter will be joined by DOE executive superintendents and other DOE leaders to help answer any questions you and other families may have.  At the time of registration, participants will be asked if they want to ask a question or provide a comment during the event about a number of categories, including health and safety, special education, fall 2021 school reopening, social emotional learning, and more. Each forum will be recorded and posted so that school communities may access them at any time. Interpretation services will be available at every forum. 

CEC3 Committee Meeting: Equitable Outcomes for All Students
May 26, 2021 @ 6:30 pm
A panel discussion with District 3 school leadership, parents, and the community on the equity informed work that is happening through the District 3 Equity Leadership Team and how it will affect student's return to the classroom, Fall2021. Register for the zoom meeting. 

NYS Thought Exchange Survey
Please complete the NY State Thought Exchange Survey on how to use the new money from the Federal Government. Survey question: As we prepare for the next school year in New York, what are the most important academic, social-emotional, and/or mental health supports for schools to provide to serve all students (i.e., general education students, students with disabilities, English language learners, and others)?

West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc.
Construction at WSFSSH at West 108 is nearing completion. The affordable apartments are now accepting applications through New York City Housing Development Corporation, at Housing Connect. Over the summer residents will be moving into new apartments on West 108th Street, and Valley Lodge Shelter will be moving back to its original location on the block. WSFSSH is working with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on a plan to reopen the section of Anibal Aviles Playground that was used during construction, now including a new comfort station.

Free Virtual Coding Summer Camp
July 5-16, 2021, Monday to Friday, 12:00 - 2:00 pm
This summer, the Council of Digital Engineers (CODE) will be holding its first virtual two-week summer camp and will utilize a peer-mentorship approach to introduce computer science to hundreds of rising middle school students. Each session of the camp is completely cost-free for participating students and provides the opportunity for them to build on their knowledge in the STEM field. You can choose to learn at your level and get quality tutoring lessons from experienced programmers all at no cost. Sign up using this link: For more information, visit If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at
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