SOUTH BRONX: Apply to NYC Summer Quest 2013

summerquestNYC Summer Quest is a free, five-week, full day summer learning program that provides elementary and middle school students with fun, hands-on enrichment experiences while strengthening their academic skills. DOE teachers and educators from community-based organizations collaborate to offer students Common-Core aligned instruction, enrichment activities, sports and recreation, and field trips. Last summer, 90% of parents surveyed reported that NYC Summer Quest was a good balance of fun and learning, and 90% of parents would recommend the NYC Summer Quest program to other parents.

For Summer 2013, the program will be offered in 11 schools in Community School Districts 7, 9, and 12 in the South Bronx. The following Bronx schools and community-based partners have been selected to offer the program:

  • PS 5 Port Morris/LEAP (Learning thruogh an Expanded Arts Program)
  • PS 153 Jonathan D. Hyatt/YMCA of Greater New York – Bronx
  • PS 179/BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)
  • PS 63 Author’s Academy/BELL
  • PS/IS 218 Rafael Hernandez Duel Language Magnet School/BELL
  • CS 211/Children’s Aid Society
  • CS 300 School of Science and Applied Learning/Good Shepherd Services
  • JHS 162 Lola Rodriguez de Tio/Oasis Children’s Services
  • South Bronx Academy for Applied Media/Partnership with Children
  • Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science/Wingspan Arts
  • IS 313 School of Leadership Development/Oasis Children’s Services

All elementary and middle school students attending public school in Districts 7, 9, and 12 are eligible to sign up through July 11, 2013. Capacity is limited. Priority enrollment is offered to students who attend the schools listed above. 

If your child attends one of the schools listed above, contact your school principal or parent coordinator to learn more and to apply. If your child attends an elementary or middle school in Districts 7, 9, and 12 and you would like further information, please email: nycsummerquest@schools.nyc.gov.

You can read more about NYC Summer Quest at this link.

Click here for a PDF flyer with the above information in English & Español.

Why Are NYC Public Schools Failing Gym? Melissa Joined the Panel to Discuss the Issues

Last Monday, Melissa spoke on a panel entitled “Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies: The Case for Implementing a Full Physical Education Curriculum in NYC’s Public Schools,” hosted by the Women’s City Club of New York. The panel was convened in response to a number of recent studies showing that NYC public schools are failing to meet State guidelines for physical education.

This issue prompted Melissa to write a letter to the Department of Education last year, signed by thirty-five Council Members inquiring about the DOE’s plan to improve the quantity and quality of gym class in City schools and to address the disparities between schools. Melissa was joined by education chair Robert Jackson along with other phys ed experts, all of whom discussed the many evidence-based benefits of PE, including improved academic achievement along with physical health.

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Melissa expressed her strong stance on this issue:

“Providing quality physical education in our public schools is critical in a time when our City is facing a staggering childhood obesity epidemic! It is shocking that according to the City Comptroller’s Audit none of the 31 elementary schools visited were meeting State requirements for gym class, due to factors such as co-locations and budget cuts. This issue is particularly important to low-income communities of color such as the South Bronx, East and Central Harlem, and Bedford-Stuyvesant which are disproportionately impacted by higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other related illnesses. The issue of gym class is a symptom of the overall direction the DOE has been headed over the last decade. Budget cuts, a lack of gym teachers, an overemphasis on high-stakes test prep, and the co-location of charter schools, have all served to undermine physical education in our schools.”

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Mott Haven’s PS 369 is Saved from the DOE’s Chopping Block

Back in November, the DOE was threatening to phase out PS 369, the Young Leaders Elementary School, in the South Bronx. Melissa immediately rallied in solidarity with the parents, students and teachers. “Studies have shown that school closings disrupt the community and fail to improve the education of our students. We need to invest in our schools, not shut them down,” Melissa said back in November. She also joined the parents in a meeting with DOE officials to make clear her strong support for keeping the school open.

We are happy to announce that the DOE heard our voices, with the fantastic help of the Coalition for Educational Justice and strong advocacy from parents and students, PS 369 will be kept whole and will not be shut down.

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Preparing For The Potential School Bus Driver Strike

The Amalgamated Transit Union 1181, representing about 8,800 New York City school bus drivers and matrons, is planning to go on strike this Wednesday. Below is updated information from the NYC Department of Education (DOE) about what to do in the event that they do strike:

METROCARDS

  • All students who currently receive yellow bus service may receive a MetroCard.  These MetroCards are being made available at your local school and should be requested through each school’s general office.  Schools will distribute student MetroCards beginning Tuesday, Jan. 15th.
  • Parents of pre-school and school-age children with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) requiring transportation from their home directly to their school as well as parents of general education children in grades K-2 may also request a MetroCard for the parent or guardian to act as the child’s escort to school.  Parent MetroCards will be distributed beginning Wednesday, Jan. 16th.  These cards can be used on subways beginning Wednesday, Jan. 16th and on buses beginning Thursday, Jan. 17th.

TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENT

  • The DOE is offering reimbursement for actual transportation costs (subject to DOE guidelines) for students in grades K-6 who receive yellow bus service from home or a school bus stop and live in areas where public transportation is not readily available.
  • Parents who drive their children to school will be reimbursed at a rate of 55 cents per mile.
  • Parents who use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school will be reimbursed for the trip upon completion of reimbursement forms that includes a receipt for provided services.
  • Requests for reimbursements should be made weekly on forms that will be made available on the DOE website and in each school’s general office.

ROUTE FINDER

CLASS MATERIALS

  • In the unfortunate event that students cannot get to school, the DOE will be posting materials online for every grade and core subject so that students can continue their learning at home during the strike.

Please contact your local school, 311 or the Office of Pupil Transportation at (718) 392-8855 for additional information. 

The Aftermath of Sandy: A Message from Melissa

I hope that everyone is doing ok. Though compared to other areas we didn’t get hit so hard in our Council district, the damage across the city as a result of Sandy is absolutely devastating. As you know, MTA service continues to be suspended until further notice. The FDR Drive still appears to be flooded. The East River bridges are just reopening. And hundreds of thousands of people across the five boroughs are without power. Also, as the Mayor just announced schools will again be closed tomorrow.

Please continue to let me know of any downed trees or dangerous conditions by e-mailing newsfrommelissa@gmail.com or by tweeting me @MMViverito. You should also report them to 311 and take note of your tracking number.

A few very important things:
  • If you absolutely need to go outside, please be careful and please do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary. We need to keep the roads as clear as possible for emergency vehicles and first responders.
  • Only call 911 if it is truly an emergency. For all other concerns, please contact 311 online or by phone.
  • Please don’t go near damaged trees or power lines and stay out of parks, which are still closed.
There is clearly a lot of work ahead. The Mayor said this morning that it could take several days to fully restore all subway service and power to all New Yorkers. In the meantime, I will continue to share critical updates over e-mail.

Please continue to be safe, and again, let me know of any outstanding issues at newsfrommelissa@gmail.com or @MMViverito on Twitter.

-MMV