Wednesday, December 22, 2010
At last week's P.T.O. meeting, Andrea from Out2Play presented the organization's design for the new schoolyard:
Looking counterclockwise, from bottom left, the design includes 70 feet of new playground equipment (the white rectangle); painted blacktop games, trees, and chess tables; a track and 3 tennis courts; play equipment accessible to those with physical disabilities, including a basketball "drop shot"; an enhanced handball court; and a basketball court. A copy of the design with complete labeling is visible in the school lobby, beside the auditorium.
Andrea remarked that our schoolyard has more available space than most other schools, which allowed for an expansive design. The plan first took shape on October 26th, when a meeting was held with school leaders and community members. From that meeting, Out2Play created 3 design proposals. At a later meeting, these 3 designs were edited into the final proposed plan for the school yard.
The playground area will include new benches. The surface of the playground will be painted various colors; Out2Play estimates that the paint will last 10 to 12 years. Out2Play expects this construction phase of the project to take six to eight weeks. However, it cannot start until the reconstruction of the surface and drainage systems is completed. -Kirby Pulver
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
- Budget cuts over several years has led to staff cuts.
- The school needs a librarian for our new library.
- Arts programs still need to be funded.
- Every grade needs to upgrade its classroom technology.
- The P.T.O.'s new status as a non-profit carries a few new costs.
- P.S. 9's neighborhood, school leaders, and high parent involvement give it a good chance to become one of Brooklyn's standout schools.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
The committees of the PTO have a variety of exciting projects underway, and with that comes requests for help from parents: to write thank you notes, to distribute publicity fliers, to help with school tours. Specialists are also needed: lawyers and accountants to answer questions, web developers who have experience building websites. Details on eight opportunities:
-The school leadership team seeks volunteers to help write thank you notes to silent auction contributors. Please contact Carol Sheldrake-Hernandez, at Carolsheldrake AT gmail.com.
-The Lunch Room committee is looking for ideas for activities that students can do in the auditorium when they are unable to go outside to the playground. Please contact Tara Rullo, at tararullo AT mac.com.
-The PTO executive board seeks lawyers and accountants who can volunteer time to help with legal and bookkeeping questions. (As a new 501c3 organization, the P.T.O. faces many such questions.) Please contact Penelope Mahot, at penelopemahot AT gmail dot com.-The Fundraising committee seeks volunteers to sell tickets to the the holiday cruise fundraiser on December 11. Please contact Fiona Noyes, at Fionat2 AT hotmail.com
-The Communications committee is seeking people to help create and distribute fliers and posters to publicize PTO and school events. This project is good for all sorts of people: hands-on folks; managers who make sure work gets done; organizers who can convince people to volunteer; writers; graphic designers; photographers. The committee also seeks people with experience building websites with Apache or the Wordpress, Blogger, Google Apps or Drupal platforms. Please contact Matt Fleischer-Black, at fbhouse AT verizon.net
-The Grant Committee is looking for names of any contacts at companies that the committee could approach to obtain tax-deductible funds for the school. Contact Ivana Espinet, at ivanaespinetATyahoo.com
--PS9 Open Houses: Ms. Charmaine Derrell-Jacob, the parent coordinator, would like parent volunteers to "shadow" upcoming tours so that they will be able to take small groups of new families through the school and answer questions. Please contact Cderrell@schools.nyc.gov.
--Wellness Committee: Members of the Park Slope Food Co-op can get work credit by participating in the Wellness Committee. Contact Jen Chapin, jen AT jenchapin.com for details.-Kirby Pulver
The Grant Writing Committee of the P.T.O. first met a couple weeks ago. For researching grants, it formed working groups to focus on three areas: art and music; technology (with a focus on providing computers for the lower grades) and equipment for students with special needs. A fourth group is researching corporations to approach for tax-deductible donations. As part of this, the committee is preparing a file with the school information that funders most commonly request.
"If any parents have expertise in any of these areas, we would love their help. If they feel that their time is too limited, they can just be readers for the grants and offer feedback," says Ivana Espinet, the chair of the committee. "For the research on approaching corporations, if anyone has any connections to companies that we can contact, it would be great if they let us know." Ivana can be reached at ivanaespinet AT yahoo.com.
On Monday Nov. 15, the committee applied for a grant to acquire a salad bar for the school, which it prepared together with the Wellness Committee. Ivana welcomes collaborations of this sort. She asks that anyone who wants to pursue a specific grant, or believes that the school should, to please contact her.
The committee's next meeting will be in January.
-Christine Scanlon and Matt Fleischer-Black
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Heartfelt thanks to all the businesses, organizations, and individuals who donated food, drink, entertainment, and auction items to October 22nd's Silent Auction to Save the Arts at PS 9. Miriam Alexandra Milord of BCakeNY.com donated the delicious chocolate cake pictured here. The musical menu opened with the First Street Quintet, featuring P.S. 9 parent and French horn player Gretel Smith. The jazz band 9 to 5 followed. Upwards of $18,500 has been raised to date. Final figures will be available once all the highest bidders have claimed their prizes, which they can do by seeing Charmaine Derrell-Jacobs in Room 112. Monies raised will go toward paying for arts programs run by such partners as Studio in a School, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Ailey Dance Kids Program. Congratulations to the School Leadership Team on pulling together this festive fundraiser at Prospect Park's Picnic House for the third year in a row.
--Karen S Fein
Monday, November 15, 2010
Earlier today, Channel 2 WCBS-TV broadcast a 1-minute-56-second report about P.S. 9's (and M.S. 571's) new library. The story focused on the current lack of a librarian to staff it. WCBS included comments on the situation from the principal, from a D.O.E. representative, and from the library steering committee's chairwoman Rebecca Shulman Herz:
“It’s tragic that the schools can put this much effort into something that's clearly endorsed by the City and still not have the funds to open it up to the students properly,” said parent Rebecca Schulman[sic] Herz.
Parents said they’ve worked too hard to let this book hive go unused. The school’s principal was trying to find the money for a part-time librarian and then volunteers would round out the edges. “I have a little plan. That’s all I can do, get a little action plan in place and try to get someone in for our youngsters,” said principal Sandra D’Avilar.
Until then, the book hive is a bare hive.
The Department of Education had planned to hire a librarian when the school first began building the new library, but have since implemented a hiring freeze. The DOE said they should fill the position soon because enrollment at P.S. 9 will increase this year, allowing them a larger budget.
The D.O.E. statement about filling the position refers to the money that travels to a school for each student it enrolls. Rising enrollment will bring P.S. 9 $200,000 beyond its original budget, Principal D'Avilar said at the P.T.O. meeting on October 12. But that may not help the school get a librarian—that evening, she added that she already had committed that money to hiring another 5th grade teacher, special needs aides, and upgrading technology for the building.
Might P.S. 9 find volunteer retired librarians, or library students, to run the library this year? The obstacle is that D.O.E. requires any library with a DESTINY electronic checkout system to use a certified school librarian, in case the librarian sees a student's electronic records. Using a paper-only checkout system is probably just a theoretical solution, as it would require lots of volunteer labor to run.
We'll let parents know if there's anything they can do to help, beyond fundraising enough to free up funds for a librarian. (That's around $50,000.)
For anyone who's not yet seen the attractive new space, the WCBS report does include a few brief glimpses. But better to stop by yourself at Wednesday evening's open house, 5-8 p.m.-Matt Fleischer-Black and Christine Scanlon
Sunday, November 14, 2010
On Saturday night, some P.S. 9 parents launched a series of house concerts in impressive fashion—entertaining a full room while raising over $600 for the school. Professional musicians Stephan Crump and Jen Chapin (parents of kindergarten student Maceo) host the benefit shows. Each event consists of drinks, dinner, dessert and two sets of music: one by the organizers’ group, The Jen Chapin Trio, and another act that features a P.S. 9 parent.
Saturday night’s concert showed that these gatherings can be a delightful chance to talk with other community members and enjoy wonderful and revelatory music. The Jen Chapin Trio started the night with their acclaimed mix of jazz and folk music, highlighted by powerful songs inspired by Jen’s and Stephan's children. The audience enjoyed a brief break for dessert and refills of wine (much of it donated by Fermented Grapes on Vanderbilt Ave.). Then P.S. 9 parent/guitarist John Cabán and his group Brother Hijinx played a funky mix of original songs and covers—a standout being their rendition of William DeVaughn's “Be Thankful for What You Got,” which spurred an audience clap-along.
At every event, childcare is available, making it simple for parents to attend. The children are fed dinner and spend time doing activities with their schoolmates at Jen's brother's apartment in the same building.
The night demonstrated that P.S. 9 has some very talented parents—and that a vibrant community surrounds the school.
Remaining dates: Saturday, January 15th 2011, featuring the Jen Chapin Trio and Pyeng Threadgill......Saturday, March 5th, 2011, featuring the Jen Chapin Trio and Candice Anitra......Saturday, May 14th, 2011, featuring the Jen Chapin Trio and Andy Friedman (to be confirmed)
Tickets are $60 per couple and $35 for individuals, available at Brown Paper Tickets. A sell-out will raise approximately $700 for the school. —Kirby Pulver
Friday, November 12, 2010
City councilwoman Letitia James and Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz funded the half-million dollar, four-year project. In homage to the many volunteers who devoted countless hours, Ms. James read the opening paragraphs of the children’s classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, in which an abandoned stuffed rabbit becomes real: "When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." Mr. Markowitz encouraged students to enjoy the turning of a book’s pages and the smell of a volume’s spine. First grader Zoe Maidman, fifth grader Selah Alexander and two students from M.S. 571 each cut a yellow ribbon stretched between bookcases. Then Principal D’Avilar gave Kiki Dennis, a P.S. 9 parent and interior designer, a crystal plaque for designing the library and overseeing its construction.
The entire community is invited to visit the library at an Open House on Wednesday, November 17, from 5 to 8 pm. Refreshments will be served and attendees encouraged to leave tax-deductible donations in a library-fund box. (Please come see it. And please bring your checkbooks!) A full-time librarian has not yet been hired, due to lack of funds. For now, retired librarian Dottie Schwartz will help run the library as a volunteer two days a week. Ms. D’Avilar hopes to hire a part-time librarian for the remaining three days.
–Karen FeinCheck out before and after photos of the library's space at the Book Hive website. News 12 broadcast a story, "State of the art library without librarian" (Cablevision subscription required). Below are pictures of today's program:
Sunday, November 7, 2010
PS 9 and MS 571
Number of students served:
Current number of volumes:
Planned eventual number of volumes:
Current technology (purchased):
• DESTINY Automation System
• Follett Panther Barcode scanner
• 9 desk top computers
• White board with integrative Mimio functionality
• Assistive Technologies -- word processing and communication device work stations and charge carts, headphones
• 2 printers/copiers
• Document projector
• Mobile projector
• Poster maker
• Laminating machine
Additional planned eventual technology:
• 36 laptops on laptop cart with charger
• 2 printers/copiers
• 50” flatscreen TV
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
PS9 PTO MEETING
TUES OCT 12
6:30 PM in the PS9 Teacher Lounge (Enter on Underhill Ave)
The PS9 Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) -- formerly known as the PS9 PTA --
invites and encourages all PS9 parents to attend its monthly meeting tomorrow,
Tuesday, October 12 at 6:30 pm. Please note that CHILD CARE WILL BE PROVIDED!
Come hear about the wide range of initiatives and events planned for the fall --
and learn how you and your family can participate in the strengthening of our
school community. We want to hear your voices, answer your questions, and
engage your support.
Why should you attend? This is your chance to:
-- Hear directly from Principal D'Avilar
-- Learn about upcoming PS9 events and how to help out
-- Get involved in your child's education (e.g., Family Reading and Math
Buddies, Class Parents)
-- Find out how to support PS9's fundraising initiatives
-- Meet other PS9 parents and families
We need your help to make PS9 events and fundraisers successful -- there are
opportunities to volunteer at all levels; if you have an hour to give, or a
special skill to contribute, please let us know!
UPCOMING EVENTS (volunteers needed for all):
* Hispanic Heritage Festival (Friday, Oct 15th)
* Open House Tour (Friday, Oct 15th)
* Silent Auction (Friday, Oct 22nd)
* Character Parade (Friday, Oct 29th)
* Fall Candy Sale
* Election Day Bake Sale (Tuesday, Nov 2nd)
* Picture Day (Monday, Nov 8th and Mon, Nov 15th)
Please note that parents are welcome to stay for the PTO Fundraising
Subcommittee Meeting immediately following the PTO meeting.
We hope to see you tomorrow night. Remember -- child care will be provided!
Your PS9 PTO
Be sure to check out the revived PS9 PTO Blog: http://www.ps9pta.blogspot.com/PS. If you are unable to attend but would like to help, please contact ps9pto AT gmail.com, or one of the following committee heads:
Get PS9 News Online: http://www.ps9brooklyn.org/
Communications Karen Fein Karen.Fein AT gmail.com
Fundraising Fiona Noyes Fionat2 AT hotmail.com
Carolsheldrake AT gmail.com
Hospitality Maria McGrath (718-783-2268) mariaw AT brooklynmcgrath.net
Lunchroom Tara Rullo tararullo AT mac.com
Library Kiki Dennis kiki AT kikidennis.com
Wellness Jen Chapin jen AT jenchapin.com
Grant Writing Ivana Espinet ivanaespinet AT yahoo.com
The Phone Tree committee is still being organized. For now, please contact: Faye Rimalovski, fayerimalovski AT optonline.net.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
10/5/2010: Curriculum Night 6-8pm
10/6/2010: PTO Candy Sale Kick-Off Assembly 12:30pm
10/4/2010: Silent Auction On-line Bidding Begins
10/8/2010: Family Reading & Math Buddies Opening Meeting 8:45am
10/8/2010: Silent Auction Ticket Pre-Sale Ends
10/11/2010: Columbus Day Observed - School Closed
10/12/2010: PTO & Title I Meeting 6:30pm
10/12/2010: Gifted & Talented Application Begins
10/13/2010: Silent Auction Scooter & Helmet Lottery Drawing
10/14/2010: District 13 Middle School Fair @ MS 113 300 Adelphi Street
10/15/2010: Early Childhood Open House 9:00am
10/15/2010: Hispanic Heritage Celebration
10/18/2010: School Leadership Team Meeting 4:00pm
10/21/2010: Class Parent Meeting 9am
10/21/2010: Safety Meeting 9:30am
10/22/2010: Silent Auction at Prospect Park's Picnic House 6pm
10/26/2010: Special Needs Parent Orientation 9am
10/29/2010: Literacy Parade and Harvest Festival
10/29/2010: Candy Sale Monies Due
Please enjoy the full interview of Ms. Johnston by pre-k student Genevieve Snyder. Look for more interviews and grade level highlights in upcoming issues of the PTO newsletter, YOUR 9 NEWS.
Genevieve: Are you excited about your birthday?
Ms. Johnston: Yes, my birthday is in July, and I usually have a swimming party.
Genevieve: Are you a queen?
Ms. Johnston: No, I’m a teacher!
Genevieve: What are you going to be for Halloween?
Ms. Johnston: Well, last year I was Stellaluna. I haven’t made up my mind yet for this year. But can I tell you about what I usually do for Halloween? I fly home to Minnesota, where all the houses are so far apart that you can’t walk from house to house to trick or treat. So we hook up a wagon to a tractor, and we put hay in the wagon, and we sit on the wagon and we pull up the wagon to each house to go trick or treating!
Genevieve: Do you have a princess costume?
Ms. Johnston: No.
Genevieve: Do you have an Ariel costume?
Ms. Johnston: No, but my 5-year old niece just got one.
Genevieve: Do you like to jump rope?
Ms. Johnston: Yes, if it’s outside. I love to do anything outside. I like doing things like climbing trees, going on hikes, sledding, and having snowball fights.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
If you have questions or suggestions, or would like to help the P.T.O. communications committee, please contact us at tararullo AT mac.com.
We will update this post once we find out when the classes will start, how frequently they will occur, and how parents might help.
-Kirby Pulver and Matt Fleischer-Black
1. Continuation of the school-wide enrichment program.
2. Staffing and opening the library by the middle of November 2010.
3. To increase parent involvement by 100 percent.
What parents can do to meet these goals:
1. ENRICHMENT: The administration will soon send out a link and ID for a website that offers a Renzulli assessment of each student's interests and learning style. (Want a sense? Look here.) You may also volunteer to help with Friday enrichment classes. To learn more about the enrichment program, read the bulletin board in the hallway to the right of the main office.
2. LIBRARY: Volunteer for the PTO's library committee.
(Send email to: kiki AT kikidennis.org)
3. INVOLVEMENT: Get involved, of course!