Principal's Office











Dear Families,

    
During summer break, I hope that you and your children enjoyed quality family time and enrichment activities.  Their summer adventures will serve as a springboard for their learning experiences across subject areas this school year.   Please begin preparing your children to return to a disciplined routine that is critical to school success by getting them to bed early to be able to wake up on time, and well prepared.  As you know, the first day of school for students is Wednesday, September 8th at 8:10AM.  We have new school hours.  They are as follows:

 

New School Hours

(dismissal times subject to change) 

Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Grade 1   -   8:10 – 2:30 daily
(drop off and pick up students in the cafeteria)

Grades 2 – 6  - 8:10 – 2:30 Monday and Friday
Grades 2 – 6  - 8:10 – 3:08 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

(students are dropped off in the cafeteria each morning, grades 2 is dismissed to the cafeteria, Grades 3 – 6 are dismissed through the middle exits 3 & 4 on Union Hall Street) 

 

What Else Is New???

    In addition to having new school hours, we also have a new PTA Executive Board, our school is undergoing three new school improvement projects, PS 40 & York College - Community Resource Center on the fifth floor will have its grand opening, and TYWLS is moving to their new school location.  Our New PTA board includes Teresa Hogan, President, Juliet Moore-Jones, Vice President, Dorothy Moody, Treasurer, and Sherry Okunade-Bradey, Recording Secretary.  General PTA meetings will be held on a monthly basis on the third Monday of each month (except when a holiday falls on that day) beginning at 6:00PM in the auditorium.  Throughout the school year we will have different student special performances and award presentations at PTA meetings, please be sure to attend to support our students.  To improve our physical plant for the students and community, our student bathrooms are being renovated to be handicapped accessible, and will include motion sensor sinks and toilets.  The exterior of the building is undergoing a facelift, and the former staff parking lot is in the process of being transformed into a state of the art playground for the school and community.  These projects are in process, and we expect them to be completed spring 2011.  To support the needs of parents, staff members, and the community at large, we have developed a partnership with York College.  After surveying the parents and staff of the PS 40 community we developed a menu of courses to support the ever changing needs of the adult community.  In our newly reclaimed space, PS 40 and York College will open a Community Resource center offering remedial and personal enrichment courses in the day, evening, and on Saturdays.  These courses are open to the public.  TYWLS has begun their move out of PS 40 to their new school location.  We wish them the best.                

    
PS 40 is a uniform school.  We wear uniforms to unite us as a community, make us all equal, and to prepare us for a professional future.  It is important that all students understand that uniforms prepare them mentally for school, and dressed for work.  All students are required to wear a white shirt and navy blue pants/skirt.  By wearing the school uniform on a daily basis, students are able to remain focused on instruction and are not distracted by the latest fashions.  On physical education days students are allowed to wear their gym uniform which consists of a navy blue sweat suit.  Our school uniform and gym uniform are available for purchase, please see Ms. Picarello for more information.  Once per month we will have school Spirit Day which is a non-uniform day.  For your convenience, this information will be posted on the monthly calendar.   It will indicate the color students should wear for the day.  Each class will engage in community service activities.   It is important that children learn early on, that giving and doing for others is a rewarding experience.

    
Be sure to discuss with them how they will get to school, what your plans are for them at dismissal time, and emergency plans.  Research has shown that parents play as vital a role as school personnel in preparing children for a successful future.  It is imperative that you take an active role and are involved in your child’s education.  We offer a variety of ways for you to get and stay involved, including monthly Class Parent Days, monthly PTA meetings, and monthly Parent Involvement workshops, to name a few.  We hope that you will make special plans to volunteer in the school, and work on parent committees or with the PTA, and Parent Coordinator on various projects.

    
Beginning with Pre-Kindergarten, it is our goal to prepare every student to enter and graduate from a four year college or university.  The administration, faculty, and staff of The Samuel Huntington Elementary School look forward to working closely with parents and students to provide the best learning experiences for all children to achieve this goal.  

    
In 2008 – 2009, our students performed at 80.3% proficiency in Mathematics, and 47.2% proficiency in English Language Arts.   All testing grade students took the new state exams spring 2010.  During the 2009-2010 school year 25% of our students were proficient in ELA, and 37% in Math.  These percentages indicate how many of our students obtained a level 3 and/or 4 on the exams.  Scores in New York City schools across the city dropped significantly.  Previously, a cut score of 650 was equivalent to a level 3, however with the new exams the cut scores were raised.  For example, to obtain a level 3 in Math in grade 3, students had to get a cut score of at least 684.  Needless to say, the bar has been raised for all New York City schools, and we are not an exception.   Our focus this year will be on increasing our proficiency level in English Language Arts and Math.  This work begins in Pre-Kindergarten through life.  To support the needs of our scholars we will have small group and individualized instruction based on skill deficiencies in the content areas daily, students will work on improving skill mastery on Acuity, in January we will begin our grades 3 – 6 reading and math afterschool program, lower grades students with skill deficiencies in reading will participate in the Fundations phonics support program, all students will receive AIS during the day, and we will embed daily lessons with test preparation strategies beginning this fall.  In order to achieve this goal, we require on time regular attendance of all students and staff, and it is imperative that parents work with us by establishing a daily reading and math review routine at home.  Please set aside 20 – 30 minutes of silent reading nightly to further develop your child’s reading skills. Research shows that the #1 way to improve a student’s reading skills is by having him/her READ, READ, READ.  The students who read the most outside of school are the students who are the best readers and who score highest on reading tests.  Supporting your child’s independent reading at home is the best way for them to improve the speed, accuracy, vocabulary, and comprehension of their reading.  Although students have high quality reading time during school, they must READ,READ,READ at home every night, weekend, and during any vacations from school.  It would be especially helpful if you asked your child to read out loud and stopped occasionally to have them summarize what was just read and to answer comprehension questions.  Skipping this important reading requirement will only hurt your child in the long run.  READ, READ, READ.  Also review daily math concepts with your child.  There are no short cuts.       

    
We will continue to implement our four schoolwide goals of accountable talk, academic rigor, clear expectations, and organization for effort, in addition to increasing time on task to maximize instruction to nurture every child for maximum success.  To aid in this effort, students must be in school daily and on time.  Breakfast is served from 7:30 – 7:55 daily.  On September 13th and 14th, Pre-Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 11:30AM.  On September 13th Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 11:30AM.  Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten orientation will take place on Monday, September 13th from 12:00 – 1:00.  Open House Meet The Teacher Night is September 22, 2010 from 5:00 – 7:30.

    
On a monthly basis, you will receive a curriculum outline, school calendar, and a school newsletter to keep you aware of content covered in all subjects and grades, as well as school events.  To ensure that all policies and procedures governing the school are transparent, we have created a Parent Handbook.  You will receive a copy later this month.  It is important that you are always aware of how your child is progressing, in addition to the progress reports and report cards you will receive from the school, you should also log on to ARIS monthly to check your students biographical information for accuracy, how they are progressing academically, and to review their attendance data. Christina Williams (cwillia25@schools.nyc.gov) is the Assistant Principal for Pre-Kindergarten through grade 2, and Ativia Sandusky (asandusky@schools.nyc.gov) is the Assistant Principal for grades 3 - 6.  If you have any concerns about anything with your child, please be sure to direct your concerns to the Assistant Principal in charge of your child’s grade promptly.  They will address any questions you may have. We look forward to greeting you and your children on September 8th, and on a daily basis.  We are here to assist you with any of your concerns.  If you are interested in supporting our school by becoming a parent volunteer, please see our parent Coordinator, Ms. Sanders (ssanders2@schools.nyc.gov).  Thank you.     

Sincerely,
Alison Branker
Principal
abranke@schools.nyc.gov