June 26, 2019 Weekly Newsletter
Donate to the Annual Appeal
Virtual Faculty Game Night included various humorous rounds of Family Feud.
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Letter from the Principal

Dear Parents,


I know there are a lot of excited students out there, but I also know that there are many who are sad to be ending middle school, to be losing the structure of their days, and will miss the daily connections with their incredible teachers. I am extremely grateful that you have entrusted your children to us. I know that I speak for the members of the faculty when I say that your children are what makes Booker T. such a special place. This morning, I showed the teachers a movie I made out of the many special video thank-you’s that the students made for them. I accompanied that with the hundreds of written notes of thanks. I know that you join me in expressing your gratitude to these incredible educators who sparked their curiosity, answered their questions, challenged their thinking, and sharpened their skills. And, who shepherded them through this final leg of the school year and ensured that your children continued to learn and feel supported when we went remote. There have been so many wonderful moments over the year – and many are flowing through my mind as I write. I hope that your children also have their own mental stream as well.


Congratulations to our 8th graders and their families. It was wonderful to celebrate their middle school years at our virtual graduation on Monday night. We will miss you and your children and are extremely grateful for your contributions to our school community over the years.

And, our week finished up with a fantastic Talent Show and Faculty Game Night. I hope your families enjoyed watching both.


I want to congratulate Albert Drogin, Marisol Rosario, and Sgt. Ronnie Nesmith on their upcoming retirement. Albert Drogin began teaching art at MS54 in 1965. I applaud his extraordinary service to Booker T. over these last 55 years. His students’ art work has transformed our physical space and his humor has kept us all chuckling as we walked through the halls. He definitely has earned this moment. Marisol Rosario, is completing her 30th year of teaching this fall. She has maintained her enthusiasm, energy, and commitment to our special needs students to the very end. Over the years, she has been a vocal advocate for experiential science education and for finding creative ways to support all learners. For 25 years, Ronnie Nesmith has been the first person many see when they enter Booker T. Not only has she kept us safe, but she has dedicated herself to our school community. The relationships that she has developed with students and families has enriched our school community.  I wish them all well as they leave.


I know that next year raises so many questions in your mind. Trust me, for every question you have, I have many more. I will be working all summer on crafting a school that both meets the parameters mandated by the DOE, but also ensures that our educational philosophy is at the forefront. Our blended model – our  Booker T. /Booker Tech model –  will be characterized by high expectations and rigorous learning opportunities, academic, social and emotional support, and the creation of connections between students, between students and teachers, and between the school and families. Together with the leadership of the School Leadership Team, we have formed a subcommittee to serve as a planning and advisory committee. I am committed to keeping you informed throughout the summer. Look for information about Town Hall Meetings. In the meantime, please fill out the DOE survey about your feelings about what school should look like in the fall. This week, we surveyed the students about their technological needs so that we can take these into account as well.


Summer Assignments are posted here. On Wednesday, the teachers met with all of the students and explained the assignments. Please review these with your children if necessary. These assignments have been modified this year to address the realities of this spring and summer. We are hoping that the students will opt to do more than the minimum reading assignment. We have included links to resources where they can find books. I encourage you – their parents – to create a reading incentive if necessary, in your own home, to support this vital skill. How about a family reading challenge? I would think that everyone could benefit from reading. (And, I hear the libraries are opening up mid-summer.)


We have three levels of summer support this year for selected students.

Level I: District Summer School
Students who have not met academic thresholds have received summer school letters already. These students will be part of the District Three Summer School Program, which is remote this year.

Level II: Booker T. Summer Skill Work
Students with reading and math skills below grade level will be expected to complete weekly lessons to help them maintain and improve on the progress they have made this year. We will email these assignments to the specified students and their families by early next week.
Level III: Sixth Grade Summer Assignment Support
We will be holding three “clinic” days during July to help targeted students complete their summer assignments. Students will have an opportunity to work one-on-one with a tutor to complete the work and to ensure that they start the year on the right foot. Parents of the selected students will receive more information via email by early next week.

At the moment, the DOE has said that because of safety concerns, you and your children may not pick up things from the school. We will safeguard student work until the fall, and we hope that you will do the same for our equipment – instruments, iPads, and books over the summer. We will need those back.


The DOE has said that after today, you will be able to download a copy of your child’s report card from your New York City Schools Account. Please copy me on any emails between you and the teachers about grade corrections, as the teachers do not work over the summer. Unfortunately, attendance records can no longer be corrected.
I wish you and your children an enjoyable and safe summer.

Elana Elster
Summer Assignments

Summer assignments for rising 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are posted on the school website here and are also copied below: Note: If you have any problems opening or downloading these files, please contact and we will provide assistance. Be sure to tell us your child's grade.
End-Of-Year Teacher & Staff Gifts

Thank you to everyone who contributed so generously to the Teacher and Staff gift pool! Going digital allowed us to collect much more quickly than in previous years. All teachers, administrators and staff members will receive an Amazon e-gift card as a token of our families' appreciation.
Reasons to Smile 

While this year has ended with unexpected and unprecedented challenges, there were also many accomplishments to celebrate and reasons to smile. Click here to enjoy the best of the 2019-2020 school year.

Annual Appeal Final Update

Thank you to all those who generously donated to the Annual Appeal this year! We exceeded our goal of $200,000.00, which was very much needed in a year when all of our spring fundraisers were cancelled. You've helped us finish a challenging year strong and we are so appreciative!
Thank You & Farewell to our Graduating PTA Executive Board 

Best wishes to our beloved partners who have shared so much of their time, expertise and friendship with us over the years!

Co-Presidents: Chris Giordano & Jerome Kramer
Treasurer: Dana Grant
Recording Secretary: Kelly Anson
Corresponding Secretary: Joanne Giordano
8th Grade Rep: Michele Samarel
6th Grade Rep: Claudia Bachteler

Booker T Monday Food Drive Continues Over the Summer 

Drop off from 7:30 - 9:30 am on Mondays
107th St flagpole courtyard

Drop off a bag of non-perishable groceries on Mondays at “The Flagpole” entrance on 107th 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. Questions:

Summer Reading Opportunities from DOE

Summer reading is so important to keep learning going and to let imaginations run free! We are thrilled to make more e-books and audiobooks for all ages available for free this summer to all DOE families, and it’s easier than ever to access them. See the summer reading DOE flyer for more information. Please visit for additional details to be posted on Monday, June 29.

Summer Wellness Tip
Warmer temperatures and the reopening of beaches and restaurants with outdoor seating are luring many outside after weeks of stay-at-home orders aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19.

Even on a beautiful summer day, everyone should continue to take all the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes social distancing, hand-washing, and using face coverings to help prevent the numbers of cases from increasing and people getting infected.

Consider the places you want to go, when it will be the least crowded, and take the best measures you can to stay safe while outdoors.

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.

Community News

Please tell the Mayor and Chancellor that school budgets should be INCREASED not cut. The link takes you to a portal set up by Class Size Matters to send a pre-written letter to both the Mayor and the Chancellor about the budget with just a few clicks. Please take a moment to do so!

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 passed two controversial resolutions at their June Calendar meeting. These Resolutions were an attempt to reduce police presence in District 3 public schools (not eliminate School Safety Agents) and to let the DOE know about the displeasure in the continued segregation of D3 schools. Though the resolutions passed with a majority roll call vote, the decision on both resolutions was not unanimous and there is still much
work to be done.
1. Resolution on the NYPD
2. Resolution on Equity and Access

Model CEC3, comprised of D3 middle school students, presented their original mock resolutions at the June 17, 2020 CEC3 Calendar Meeting. The resolutions were created by the Model CEC students with all research and language done by them. Student voices represent an important part of CEC3's work and it's inspiring that so many middle school students were able to participate in this Spring program.
1. Model CEC Mock Resolution on Mental Health
2. Model CEC Mock Resolution on School Segregation
Booker T Facebook Communication Forum!

Join MS54's Facebook group - a closed group for the parents, teachers, and staff to share and discuss issues of interest to the community.  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
Stay In Touch 

Have a safe, healthy & happy summer! Please stay in touch!
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