June 12, 2020 Weekly Newsletter
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Letter From the Principal

Dear Parents,

Thank you for completing the MS 54 Remote Learning Survey. Your feedback is very important to me and to the faculty. On Tuesday, I met with each academic department to get their feedback on what worked well and what we would do differently next year. While the feedback was slightly different between the departments, a lot of the feedback was similar. Across the board, teachers felt that smaller groups worked better. They felt that Early Academy time was extremely useful and wanted more of it. Over and over they expressed the need for the students to be taught how to use Google Classroom, how to organize their emails, how to track their assignments, and how to better manage the technological side of things. The vast majority of teacher felt that we needed highly consistent methods of assigning, collecting, and communicating with students. As one teacher pointed out, when we were in the building, the teacher did most of the managing of the work , communication, and deadlines, and now we are expecting students to take a lot of that on.

Yesterday, Chancellor Carranza said that the Department of Education would use a “blended model” next year. That means that schooling will take place at home and in the school building. This means that your child will be home on some days and in the school building on others. In order to maintain social distancing, we will only be able to safely accommodate less than half the students in the building on any given day. You and your children should understand that school will be very different.  There will be a maximum of about nine people in a classroom and limited movement between rooms. While not exactly unpredictable, this news, coupled with a 3% overall budget cut makes planning for the upcoming year challenging. I have already met with the School Leadership Team, spoken with members of the faculty, and have awoken in the middle of the night with ideas to make this work. I will continue to look to the community for ideas and feedback, and I hope you will share yours with me. I anticipate that I will continue to get more details, clarification, and expectations from the Department of Education on almost a daily basis. I will keep you informed as I do, and plan to discuss this in greater detail on Tuesday evening at the PTA Meeting. I hope to see you there.

We have many special events planned for the final weeks of school. They include: High Honor Roll Assembly, Awards Assembly, The Student Talent Show, Graduation, the Seventh Grade Zoom Event, and Teacher Game Night. Stay tuned for the dates and times.

See you Tuesday.
Elana Elster

PTA Meeting and Elections 

Nominations for the open PTA positions closed on Tuesday, June 2  in preparation for elections scheduled to take place at our PTA meeting on Tue. June 16th at 7 pm

There are no contested Executive Board positions.  Click here to see the list of nominees.  Current Booker T. parents and guardians interested in joining the Executive Board can be nominated "from the floor" during the election meeting.

Eligible voters, those parents and guardians of children currently enrolled in Booker T, should have received an invitation to register to attend the election meeting via Jupiter today. When you fill out and submit that invitation you will receive a Zoom link.

On Tuesday, we ask that you sign in to Zoom using your name as it appears on the school's records so that the administration can verify voter eligibility. If we don't recognize your name we won't be able to count your vote. Nominations will be taken from the floor. The nominees will be introduced. And then the vote will take place using Zoom's anonymous polling feature. The election will be certified by the administration.

The PTA's goal is to be inclusive, transparent, and accountable as we make efforts to continue to operate during the "pause". We will be sharing information soon about how members of the community who don't have students currently in 6th, 7th or 8th grades will be able to observe the election meeting.

Following the 7 pm election meeting we will start the general PTA meeting. We expect that meeting to start at 7:30 pm.

The following zoom link will be used for the entire community, including incoming families, to join the 7:30 pm general PTA meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 992 4995 4416
Password: 306009

One tap mobile
+16465588656,,99249954416#,,1#,306009# US (New York)
SLT Update and Elections

At this morning's meeting, the SLT voted to approve revised by-laws which reserve one parent seat for election in the fall so that incoming parents are eligible to run.  Due to this change, the election for all open SLT parent seats is being deferred until the Fall. 
Remote Learning Survey Summary

Here is the summary of the responses to our remote learning survey.
Virtual Coffee Morning

Our next virtual coffee will take place on Friday, June 19th at 8:30 am.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 995 1665 6174
Password: 208397
One tap mobile
+16465588656,,99516656174#,,1#,208397# US (New York)
Booker T Food Drive - Mon. June 15
Drop off from 7:30  - 9:30 am
107 St flagpole courtyard

Drop off a bag of non-perishable groceries on Monday, June 8th between 7:30 - 9:30 am at “The Flagpole” entrance on 107 Street.  Anne Pejovich will be there to receive your donation.

Suggested donation items:  pasta, tomato sauce, canned beans, canned tuna fish, peanut butter, jelly, boxes of Mac & Cheese, mayonnaise, cereal, olive oil, rice.  

Thank you in advance for helping feed the neighbors of the MS 54 community.
Volunteers Needed for Daily Mask Distribution

Anne Pejovich is looking for volunteers to distribute masks given by the city to the folks who come to Booker T for grab and go meals.  One volunteer needed each day, Tuesday through Friday (Anne is doing Mondays), 7:30 am until 1:30 pm.  Please email: and request a specific day through June 26.
P-EBT Food Benefit Cards

This summer, families of students enrolled at NYC public schools will receive a food benefit card (P-EBT card) in the mail with $420 per student to help cover the cost of meals while school buildings are closed during the pandemic. You do not need to take any action — cards will be sent to the address on file or EBT cards will be credited the amount. If you have questions, please visit the NYS FAQ page or call 1-888-328-6399.

Everyone who receives the P-EBT card should use it, even if you don't need the money. There is no option to transfer your card to someone else or return your card to the government, and using your P-EBT will stimulate the local economy. But, after you have used your P-EBT, you can redistribute the funds by donating the equivalent - $420 - to support food distribution efforts throughout NYC or to another cause that’s important to you -- such as the MS54 Spring Appeal (see below).

Spring Appeal Update

WOW! So far, 47 generous donors have contributed to the Spring Appeal -- 20 in the last week alone -- totaling over $16,000! With the end of the school year fast approaching, any amount you can contribute is appreciated. All funds go toward the essential programming and resources that make Booker T such an outstanding school.
Donate Here
Recommendations/Resource List for High School Admissions

8th Grade Parents - please complete this form to share recommendations/resources you found helpful in the high school admissions process

7th Grade Parents - click here to see the recommendations/resource list so far

Support Booker T Family Businesses

Click here to see the list of small businesses owned/operated by Booker T families
School Wellness Council

June is National Safety Month so this week we are sharing an article from the NYTimes titled 5 Rules to Live by During the Pandemic

School Survey

If you did not complete the school survey this spring, you still can.  Given the current circumstances, and the focus on remote learning for school communities, the DOE is providing everyone the opportunity to complete the NYC School Survey through June 26, the last day of the school year, in order to ensure as much opportunity as possible for respondents to have their voices heard.

Click here to complete the parent survey online.
The survey has a link to look up your survey code.
And please note that our school is listed as J.H.S. 054 Booker T. Washington (03M054)
Auction Item Distribution

We are working on getting access to auction items stored in the school. If you have not been contacted about your auction winnings please email
Amazon Reminder

If you are placing orders with Amazon, please remember to always use this link: or click on the Amazon logo on our website or at the top of every e-newsletter and begin your shopping. 

At no extra cost to you, MS54 gets money for every dollar you spend as long as you use our link.
108th Street Construction Update

WSFSSH is a 100% affordable housing facility and therefore qualifies as an essential construction operation and continues to build. 

Jerome Kramer and Chris Giordano have been liaisons between Booker T and WSFSSH and neighborhood stakeholders in the Construction Advisory Group that meets on a monthly basis. Exec Board member Kyle Clayton has volunteered to take over those responsibilities.
Booker T Facebook Communication Forum

Join MS54's Facebook group - a closed group of the 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

Community News

Class Size Matters and NYC Kids PAC will be holding a conference via Zoom called Sharing Ideas & Solutions for Reopening SchoolsThe Path Forward on Saturday, June 20 from 11 AM to 1 PM.

During this conference, we will collect ideas from parents, guardians, teachers, students and concerned New Yorkers about what precautions and programs should be in place next year, if and when schools reopen.

Please register here if you’d like to attend this conference, and we will send you the Zoom link beforehand. Space is limited so please do it now.
2020 Census

As we grapple with COVID-19, completing the 2020 Census is even more important now than ever. The number of New Yorkers who are counted will determine how much funding we receive for our schools and public services over the next 10 years. City schools receive more than $781 million every year in Title I funding, based on census data. In addition, the census helps determine funding for early learn centers, in-school and afterschool youth programs, childcare programs, and other services that support our school communities. You can play an active role in ensuring an accurate count by urging staff and families to complete the census online at, or by calling 844-330-2020, and completing the brief survey, which is open until October 31.

Community Education Council 3 (CEC3)

CEC3 Middle School Committee
Mon. Jun 15, 7:00 PM
Register here

CEC3 & CSD3 President's Council
Joint Calendar Video Meeting
Wed., June 17, 6:30 PM

School Calendar Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 16
5:30 pm     Exec Board Meeting
7:00 pm     General PTA Meeting & Election
                  7 pm Election Meeting, 7:30 pm General Meeting

Friday, June 19
8:30 am     Virtual Coffee Morning

Monday, June 22
6:00 pm     8th Grade Graduation

Friday, June 26
Last Day of School
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