Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Librarian update, movie night, and baseball game

At last week's P.T.O. meeting, Principal D'Avilar stated that interviews for the librarian position would start after the coming break. P.S. 9 and M.S. 571 will split the cost of the librarian, she said.

In other plans, the P.T.O.'s executive board decided to revive a Friday Movie Night. Movie nights were held twice last year.

Also being discussed: scheduling a P.S. 9 Family Night during a Brooklyn Cyclones game.

Schoolyard design unveiled

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

Will P.S. 9's building have only K-5 students?

And will it belong only to P.S. 9? Both possibilities came one step closer to reality this week. The Department of Education announced that it is closing our upstairs neighbor at 80 Underhill Ave, M.S. 571. Under the plan, the 170-student middle school will phase out operations over the next 3 years.

At Tuesday night’s P.T.O. meeting, Principal D’Avilar asked parents to share any ideas and wishes that they have for the space. P.S. 9's school leadership team, for example, is exploring whether it might launch a dual-language program that could move into the space. The principal promised to discuss the M.S. 571 situation with parents at a breakfast, still to be scheduled.

Any plans will need to be developed fast. D. O. E. expects that "replacement schools will begin growing in the building starting next September." Officials told Councilwoman Letitia James that it may move a charter school into the second-floor space. More detailed plans may be announced tomorrow morning, according to a report in Prospect Heights Patch. Other news coverage of the announcement is here, here, here, and here.

The closure decision still can be reversed. On Wednesday evening, Councilwoman James and State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries held a community meeting in the auditorium. These officials pledged to overturn the D.O.E.'s plan. Next month, the D.O.E. will hold a public hearing. D.O.E.'s Panel on Educational Policy will hold a final vote on the closure proposal in early February.

Before then, you may tell the D.O.E. your views by phoning 212-374-0208 or emailing
-Kirby Pulver and Matt Fleischer-Black

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Online donations are now possible—fundraising push underway!

"P.S. 9 seems to be aiming high" concluded the Metro newspaper in last weekend's Best of New York capsule review of family life in Prospect Heights.

Yes we are! But that means the P.T.O.'s fundraising needs to aim high—tens of thousands of dollars high. And so we've launched online donation by credit card. Several reasons exist for you and your family to give to the P.T.O.:
  • 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.
If you have the means, consider being one of 5 donors to give $5000 or more. Or one of 10 donors to give $2000. Or one of 25 donors to give at least $1000. Once the P.T.O. raises $60,000—$100 per student—to pay for P.S. 9's core supplies and programs, the principal can hire another staff member—a librarian or an art teacher, say. No amount is too small, and all donations are appreciated and tax-deductible.

Please ask your extended families and network of friends to help make P.S. 9 one of the jewels in Prospect Heights, and in the New York City school system. Every property owner in Prospect Heights has an interest in P.S. 9 flourishing. Grandparents can help their grandchildren's school soar to new heights of excellence.

To donate by check or money order, please make checks payable to P.S. 9 P.T.O. and send to:
P.S. 9 P.T.O. c/o P.S. 9, 80 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11238.

To donate online, visit this URL:

If you want help completing your donation, please don't be shy—call or email:
718-638-3260 x1320

To find the Metro mention, search for "PS 9," in "Best overlooked neighborhood to raise a family."

Calling all parents: PTO meeting tonight

PLEASE JOIN US TONIGHT, at 6:30 PM in the PS9 Teacher Lounge (enter from Underhill Ave., turn left at front office). We invite and encourage all P.S. 9 parents to attend. Please note that CHILD CARE WILL BE PROVIDED. Discussion topics will include:

•Updates on the Budget
•Updates from the Title I Committee and P.T.O. subcommittees
•Reports from the Principal and Parent Coordinator
•Details of upcoming fundraisers
•Opportunities to get involved

Hope to see you!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Math night=fun evening for all grades

Last Tuesday, on November 30, P.S. 9 threw a math party in the gym from 6-8 p.m. The host was Ms. Cheryl Sealey, math coach; the food spread was cheese, crackers, veggie stix, and juice; and the mood was convivial. Several teachers each presided over a table. Ms. Nelson, for instance, oversaw matching and memory games for the youngest students. Ms. McCrea ran a raucous game of Bingo. Ms. Diop supervised the fourth and fifth graders who tackled a complicated math challenge. Other teachers included Ms. Chong and Ms. Hernandez. Some parents, meanwhile, oversaw tries at guessing the amount of candy in two jars (the smaller one was for pre-K to 1st grade).
The crowd of students and family members numbered around seventy, with all grades represented. The children circulated fairly calmly around the tables, not running around and careening into the padded walls and each other, as they do at some events. Many stopped at the Sorry! game table for pop-o-matic bubble action, then moved to the prize table. There, they redeemed tickets they had won, taking home trinkets like pens and skateboard keychains. On the way out, attendees found door prizes: more math games, along with pencils to make up some of their own.
—Maria McGrath
Top: Analyzing bingo positions. Bottom: Taking measure of many pieces of candy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cruise fundraiser sets sail on December 11

Tickets are now on sale for P.S. 9's magical December fun-raiser—the Harbor Cruise. Last year's event ended up a huge playdate on water. On a dazzlingly sunny winter morning, kids danced, played and soaked up the sights of the city. This year the cruise will be a twilight tour on the Zephyr, taking in the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. The ride will include entertainment, snacks, and the chance to win a giant teddy bear. (Bring a new toy to donate to Toys-for-Tots and your child's name will go into a draw for the prize.)

Last year the event sold out with 450 people on board, and raised over $3,000 for the school. P.S. 9 parents Fiona and Travis Noyes organized the event. Travis's company, New York Water Taxi/Circle Line Downtown, donates the use of the Zephyr, a yacht.

Tickets cost $10 per person. Please buy your tickets soon, before they run out. You may return payment in the envelope that teachers backpacked home last week (look for a pink flier), or order tickets from parent coordinator Charmaine Derrell-Jacobs (cderrell AT; Room 112; 718 638 3260 x1121). Please dress warmly—the boat will be toasty inside, but many find it hard to resist a ride on the outdoor decks. Guests must be at the pier by 4.45 p.m., as the boat leaves promptly at 5 p.m.
-Kirsten Denker
Photos courtesy Portia Fong and Circle Line Downtown

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gobble, gobble! (Yum!)

Last Tuesday, Nov. 23, P.S. 9’s hallways were transformed into festive dining halls for the school’s annual Multicultural Luncheon. The event ensures that each child at P.S. 9 has the chance to enjoy a festive meal that celebrates the many ethnicities present in our school. It has been held every year since Principal D’Avilar began her tenure as P.S. 9's principal.

Many classes created and displayed decorations for the event, including Thanksgiving-themed hats and painted banners. By midday, the halls bustled with excited students and grownups filling their plates with delectable dishes of international origins, home-made holiday treats, and traditional Thanksgiving fare. Many parents turned out to help set up tables and buffet stations, serve the food and, of course, help teachers clean up.

Thanks to everyone who was able to contribute time or food to class celebrations. Thanks also to all the teachers for their efforts in making the event a success. -Michelle French