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October 2016 Newsletter


PS 9:  A Whole Child School

"Healthy. Safe. Engaged. Supported. Challenged.”

You may have noticed this motto, printed on orange posters around the school.  These five ideals reflect our school’s goal: to improve students’ learning by attending to a student’s emotional, social and physical needs, not just academic and intellectual ones.

In  the spring of 2012, PS 9 was chosen to be one of the first 10 schools in a national 'Whole Child' network, a school improvement process created by the ASCD, a global organization that seeks to advance student achievement by supporting the whole child. 

The ASCD awarded PS 9 a grant to make changes that would help it fulfill each of the five ideals: healthy, safe, engaged, supported, challenged.  A whole-child approach to education has long been PS 9’s philosophy—one reason ASCD chose PS 9.

Ms. Charmaine Derrell-Jacobs, our parent coordinator adds: “The 'Whole Child' philosophy is very important in a school where there is almost every level of diversity. We explore and recognize the differences of each human being here and work daily to make teaching and learning an organic, wholesome experience.”

Though the grant has ended, PS 9’s whole-child team (teachers and parents) keeps adapting our school’s practices to further achieve those five ideals.  If you peek into a PS9 classroom on any given day, you might see a teacher leading the class in a Move-to-Improve dance, or students sitting in a circle discussing an author's intention in a text.  Staff throughout the school use How Full is Your Bucket? and the Nurtured Heart Approach to support students socially and emotionally.  

At a September staff meeting, first grade teacher Melissa Gentile presented a mindfulness exercise to the other teachers. She has been using a small bell after lunch each day to lead her class into a calm, quiet period—one brief break to keep them healthy and engaged for the rest of the afternoon.  Ms. Derrell explains, “This is not overnight work, but we are building our capacity with great works in every room and nook of our school.”

Best Night Out!

PS 9’s biggest party of the year is soon upon us!  Our annual Silent Auction “Fall for the Arts at PS 9” is coming up on Saturday, November 19th from 6:30 - 10:30pm at Union Temple’s ballroom.  

It’s a supremely fun and festive night for us adults, but we need every PS 9 family to join the effort and help out in some way. Proceeds from this event are critical to funding enrichment programs at PS 9.  Last year we raised a record $40,000.  

We would love to have every family provide at least one item to the auction. Don’t stress -- It’s fun!  

-    Examine your resources and contacts for possible donations. Ask your favorite restaurant or shop, show, museum, class, spa, etc. to donate a gift certificate.  

-    In past years, these have been popular items to donate: Vacation Homes, Tickets to Sports Events, Plays, Ballets, Concerts, Fashion Shows, Television Show Tapings; Gift Certificates for Professional Services, Restaurants, Clothing Stores; Museum Memberships; Gyms, Indoor Sports Centers; Camp sessions, Classes, Lessons; Special Experiences; Art/Home Décor items; Wine; and more.

We’re also looking for help behind the scenes.  Please visit or contact Faye at  We’ll find you a task that meets your interest and timeframe.

October Events 

Mon. Oct. 3 & Tues. Oct. 4
(Rosh Hashanah)

Mon. Oct. 10
(Columbus Day)

Wed. Oct.12 
(Yom Kippur)

Thurs. Oct 13
Spanish for parents
(6-8P in the Library)

Thurs. Oct 13 & Fri. Oct. 14
Hispanic Heritage Celebrations
consult teacher for timing

Tues. Oct. 18
PTO Meeting
(6:30-8:30P in the Library)

Sat. Oct. 22 -
Pumpkin Patch
(11-3P Bergen St Garden)

Mon. Oct. 24 - Fri. Nov. 4
Scholastic Book Fair

Thurs. Oct. 27 
Spanish for Parents
(6-8P in the Library)

Mon. Oct. 31
Harvest Fest/Storybook Parade

PS 9 Code to success

Technology Teacher - Ms. Safak Ozsut

We sat down with PS 9's technology teacher Ms. Oszut recently to see what's happening with tech at PS 9.

PS9 received a much needed windfall in the form of a $150,000 grant to re-wire and update the lab.  The implementation of this grant will take many months but is a critical win for our school's budding technology program.

Ms. Ozsut (aka Ms. Oz) was also thrilled to share that she has started a coding program with the upper grades in partnership with  PS 9 parents, Radhika and Praveen Ramamurthy.

The Involvement of PS9 students in technology doesn’t stop at school dismissal.  PS 9 parents, Matt Curinga and Loreto Dumitrescu  are continuing their very popular afterschool program, Zero Day Camp (fka Code Club)  for PS 9 kids in 2nd-5th grade.  And if your budding code or game writer can’t get enough during the school year, there is even a Zero Club Summer Camp.

Ms. Oz shared her thoughts on the importance of this program at PS9:  “Technology allows us to share knowledge and information so that we can build a better community.”  We couldn’t agree more!  

Looking ahead, Ms. Oz is excited to continue her partnership with PS9 parents noting the Cyber Bullying Poster Contest for grades K-12 which was suggested to her by a PS 9 parent. She reinforced the that parents can support her work further by encourging their children to practice typing at home.  This helps students to complete work in her lab during the school day.   


If you ask a PS 9 kid what his favorite event of the year is, chances are he’ll say Bounce. Last Saturday PS 9 kicked off its fifth annual Bounce Back to School Carnival. Families from PS 9 and beyond all came to bounce in enormous inflatable castles, have their faces painted, and drink way too much lemonade. This event is one of our biggest fundraisers and would not be possible without the hard work of so many wonderful parents in our community. Thank you to EVERYONE who made this day happen. We made over $19,000 income which, after expenses, means over $12,000 for our school! We hope you enjoy these photos capturing the excitement of the day taken by PS9 Parent, Anna Campanelli.
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