Title III Immigrant Program: Fun At The Botanical Gardens!

On Saturday March 12, 2016 a special group of students and parents gathered at PS196Q. The atmosphere was friendly and curious. It was the first school year that Queens had this kind of a program. Queens schools were given an opportunity to apply for funding for an immigrant program. Ms. Riccardo and Ms. Raber worked together to create a program that would serve to support our immigrant population academically, and help families connect with community services. It was a space-limited class that focused on the science curriculum and a trip to The Queens Botanical Gardens! Parents attended with their children and learned about the plants and animals thIMG_0163at are indigenous to our area. Each parent and child chose a plant or animal that they hoped to see at the Queens Botanical Gardens and drew a picture of it on a tee-shirt. “Don’t forget to wear your tee-shirt next week!” Ms. Riccardo reminded them.






IMG_0149 On March 19th, 2016, the group reconvened for a trip to the Queens Botanical gardens. They filed onto a school bus all wearing their tee shirts and hoping to see the plant or animal that they chose the week before. Some people had never been to the Queens Botanical Gardens, some had. It was a new adventure with new friends!

–Posted by Mrs. J. Riccardo, ENL TeacherIMG_0088IMG_0173 IMG_0143 IMG_0094


Changes in New York State Testing

As Ms. Koatz mentioned during her Data-Tech meetings, New York State has made (and is making) some changes to the exams your children will be taking in April.  Please see these letters from the New York City Department of Education, regarding those changes. (20160129Grade38TestChangesFlyerforParentsArabic 20160129Grade38TestChangesFlyerforParentsBengali 20160129Grade38TestChangesFlyerforParentsHaitian(1) 20160129Grade38TestChangesFlyerforParentsFrench(1) 20160129Grade38TestChangesFlyerforParentsChineseTraditional 20160129Grade38TestChangesFlyerforParentsFrench 20160129Grade38TestChangesFlyerforParentsHaitian changes2016grades3-8ela-math-tests).

This is what has changed:

  • They have decreased the number of questions.
  • Tests are now untimed.
  • There is, and will be, greater teacher involvement in creating and reviewing exams.
  • They chose a new test vendor—Questar Assessment.

Since the tests are now untimed, we will be starting all students first thing in the morning.  So it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that your children arrive at school early on testing days.

  • On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, classes start at 8:50 a.m.—drop off by 8:40 a.m.
  • On Fridays, classes start at 8:00 a.m.—drop off by 7:45 a.m.

With your help, the morning will run smoothly and all children will be able to begin testing on time.

Even though tests are untimed, students must finish their exams by the end of the school day.  If they are still working productively (no more than 15 minutes without working), and it is close to lunch, students will be allowed to eat their lunch in a testing room.  Their exams will be given back to them after they finish.Here are the dates for the New York State Exams:

English Language Arts (ELA) Exams

Tuesday, April 5th

Wednesday, April 6th

Thursday, April 7th

Make-ups: April 8th, 11th and 12th

Mathematics Exams

Wednesday, April 13th

Thursday, April 14th

Friday, April 15th

Make-ups: April 18th, 19th and 20th


Eat Locally in NYC Public Schools on “New York Thursdays”!

From February 1st through April 22nd, all New York City public schools will be serving locally-sourced milk, dairy and produce to students every Thursday! Some of the New York State farms that are participating include: Crossbrook Farm, Walnut Ridge Dairy, Lamb Farms and Whittaker Farms. Students and parents can watch videos about New York Thursdays by going to www.milkvids.com or clicking on the QR code on the flier that was sent home. If our school reaches 100 video views, we will be entered to win a $5,000 “Build-A-Garden” kit for growing our own fruits and vegetables!


Free Software for Students!!

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced a special partnership between New York City and Microsoft.

According to her press release: Students and families can now download Office 2016, Office for Mac 2016 and the Office 365 mobile apps available for Windows 10 tablets, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. All of these are part of Microsoft’s Office 365 Education offering and available to download from the website https://studentoffice.net/. There is no cost for up to five (5) downloads on personal computers, Windows or Mac, up to five (5) tablets and up to five (5) phones.

“We are committed to using technology as a tool to facilitate better instruction and engage students and families,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This exciting new initiative is going to help us do just that—I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito, the New York City Council, and Microsoft for their partnership.”

“Every student needs the proper tools to be successful in school,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Committee on Technology.  “We are long past the days where well-rounded computer skills were optional.  By providing free software to NYC school children, we are ensuring that every student will have the opportunity to become proficient in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the rest of the Microsoft package.”

We are thrilled about this announcement, and encourage all our families to take advantage of this opportunity!


Kindergarten Applications

All families living in NYC with children born in 2011 should apply to kindergarten. This includes all students currently enrolled in Pre-K. Applications are now due January 20. 

Families can apply in one of three ways: online in ten languages, over the phone by calling 718-935-2400, or in person at a Family Welcome Center. Interpretation services in over 200 languages are available for the phone and in person options.

As a reminder, PCLs and SVLs are available in SEMS and will be updated through the extended January 20 deadline. Please remember that applicants on your PCL are not prioritized at this time. The deadline to verify siblings remains January 28.  

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov. Thank you for all your collaboration throughout this process.