Thursday, August 30, 2007

A BIG Thank you!

On behalf of all of our staff I would personally like to thank all of the students who have been here to help us get ready for the start of school. You have moved furniture, stamped books, stuffed and stamped envelopes, helped teachers prepare their classrooms, cleaned the conference room, answered phones, stuffed folders, welcomed teachers who are new to our school, and most of all, made those of us that were here working with you smile and laugh. (Hide and seek was fun too!) Your energy and your enthusiasm are contagious! From the bottom our hearts thanks to Michela, Loretta, Tiffany, Melissa, Kaitlin, Conor, Anam, Alexandra, Vinny, Ann, Justin, Jessica, Steven, Rob, and Manny. We could not have gotten the school ready without you. Your giving spirit and your willingess to give to our school community is truly appreciated! Thank you all!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More Exciting News-Save our History Grant Awarded to CSIHSIS

Hey Juniors-- this is for you! Get ready!


The History Channel Supports Preservation Initiative That Links NPNH Education Center with Statue of Liberty National Monument, Save Ellis Island, Inc., the College of Staten Island and CSI High School for International Studies

Staten Island, New York, August 25, 2007— The History Channel has awarded the National Parks of New York Harbor Education Center in Staten Island a $10,000 Save Our History grant. The Education Center will partner with Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, College of Staten Island High School for International Studies, the College of Staten Island, and Save Ellis Island, Inc., for “Immigrant Reflections: From Ellis Island to Staten Island.” Through this project 100 high school students will compare and contrast the experiences of recent immigrants to Staten Island, New York, with their predecessors who immigrated via Ellis Island almost a century ago. Students will conduct oral history interviews of recent immigrants and research those from the days of Ellis Island. They will convert their knowledge of past and present immigration into short podcasts.

The National Parks of New York Harbor Education Center is one of 27 history organizations nationwide that received Save Our History community preservation grants. These grants fund innovative preservation projects designed to bring communities together, actively engage children in the preservation of their local history and communicate the importance of saving local history for future generations.

The History Channel, with the counsel of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) and American Association of State and Local History (AASLH), created the Save Our History Grant Program as an extension of the Save Our History philanthropic initiative and is committed to inspiring and motivating local communities to learn about and take an active role in the preservation of their past through projects involving artifacts, oral histories, sites, museums or landmarks that exist in their own neighborhoods.

Our project “Immigrant Reflections: From Ellis Island to Staten Island” will bring educators from the National Park Service, Save Ellis Island, Inc., and the College of Staten Island to our school. At the school, educators and other professionals will teach eleventh graders how to conduct oral histories and how to conduct research of primary sources in history. Media consultants will aid school educators in teaching students how to create podcasts and how to take digital and video photography.

Starting in the fall, students will locate immigrants living on Staten Island for interviews. The very act of conducting oral histories will raise student awareness of local heritage. Students will also visit Ellis Island to conduct research about earlier immigrants, who passed through Ellis Island before it closed as an immigration station in 1954. By the end of the 2007-08 school year, teams of students will create podcasts, which will be available to visitors of Ellis Island.

In addition to this project, The History Channel is also awarding Save Our History grants to historic organizations in Alaska, Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont and Wisconsin.

“The History Channel receives stacks of applications for Save Our History grants,” said Dr. Libby O’Connell, SVP, Corporate Outreach and Chief Historian, The History Channel. “The National Parks of New York Harbor Education Center demonstrated the creativity and commitment to preservation and education that we believe is fundamental to giving our past a bright future.”

Friday, August 24, 2007

Excited for the Start of School

I am excited to let you all know that we have hired a fabulous Parent Coordinator, Annette Lentini. Annette comes to us after having been the Parent Coordinator at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, where she implemented many successful programs to help students and to bring parents into the school building. She has many great ideas and also welcomes input from the PTA. To help keep you informed of school news and events, Annette will continue to send out a weekly newsletter via email. If we do not have your email address, please call the school and speak with Annette. Also, feel free to call her with your questions at any time.

As we get ready for classes to begin, there are many exciting things happening. Our Kaplan's PSAT and SAT Preparation Class will begin on Saturday, September 8th at our school. This class is to help juniors prepare for the college entrance examinations. Class size is limited to 25. We do still have a few spots available in our second class. If you are interested, please call the school.

We are planning a Poetry Slam for our sophomores. This will include a week-long poet in residence program. During this time sophomore students will have an opportunity to work with a professional, published poet to write poetry, have their poetry critiqued and participate in a poetry slam. Students will also enjoy our resident poet as he animatedly and passionately performs his original poetry. This program grew out of the very successful one day program that we had for last year's sophomores.

We have already planned a day long freshman orientation trip to the Ring Homestead Camp in Middletown, New York for Tuesday, September 18. While at Ring Homestead Camp, students will participate in team and community building activities. Part of the trip will involve students working together to complete a ropes course. On that day, buses will leave from school at 7:30 am and return at 6:00 pm. We expect all students to participate in this experiential learning activity as it is essential to building freshman community at College of Staten Island High School for International Studies as well as for helping students get to know their teachers and become contributing members to our school community.

We are thrilled to be able to include Japanese 1 in our language offerings to our freshman students and are equally as excited about incorporating a technology course into the junior curriculum.

We are also excited about the ways in which we have expanded our Advisory Program. This year, advisory will meet five days per week. Two of those days will be devoted to independent reading. Independent reading affords students opportunities to read what they enjoy, while building vocabulary and improving reading and writing skills. During this time students and teachers will be able to read books/magazines/newspapers of choice. Students will also be able to work on their independent reading assignments for their English classes during these two periods. Guidelines will be explained to students in advisory. Additionally, to help support all of our students, advisers will also be able to conference with each of their advisees so that they are more aware of academic progress as well as any issues or problems their advisees are having. We are hopeful that this will strengthen communications and the bond formed between students and their advisers and will ultimately lead to increased student achievement.

Things that are still in the works: a two week student exchange trip to Germany, a student exchange with Ecuador (for students studying Spanish), dual high school/college credit for students enrolled in Spanish 4, tuition waivers for students to take courses at College of Staten Island during Spring Semester, college visits and many exciting trips and other programs for all grade levels.

We are very excited about the start of school and look forward to seeing all of you on Tuesday, September 4th at 8:30 am. If you have additional ideas, suggestions or comments, please post them. We would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Just a reminder that the ABC news special about Asia Society will air on August 18th at 7:30 pm. This clip will feature our students and our school's language program. There's a preview at

If you look quickly, you can catch a glimpse of Ama and Jakub in the preview clip.

Remember to watch and let us know what you think about how our school is portrayed as well as what you learn about the importance of a global, world class education and the extent to which you think we are meeting the goal of providing our students with that education.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


As of August 27, 2007 Jennifer Zinn will officially be appointed Assistant Principal of College of Staten Island High School of International Studies. After our C30 committee, comprised of teachers, parents, students and a CSA union representative, interviewed applicants for the position, the Level 2 interviews took place and Ms. Zinn was selected to be our school's assistant principal.

Ms. Zinn was one of the founding faculty members of our school, is an extraordinary and dedicated instructional leader and teacher, and embodies the values of our school in her daily life. Having previously taught at the award winning International School of the Americas in San Antonio Texas and completed her supervisory training at Trinity University, she is well qualified to be our school's first assistant principal.

Please join me in congratulating Ms. Zinn on her new position!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


As of today, although we are still in need of a Parent Coordinator, I am happy to announce that we are fully staffed with teachers. Our newest addition, Ms. Ho-Ling Lo, is a Math teacher coming to us from The Fort Hamilton School, PS/IS 104. She holds a Master of Science in Math Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Asian American Studies. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Kappa Delta Pi (National Honor Societies). Please join me in welcoming her to our school.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Teacher Grows Disillusioned

Regarding The New York Times article, A Teacher Grows Disillusioned, although principals do have the right to change a student's grade, principals need to communicate with teachers and first understand why the student failed the class. Of course, we want to give students every opportunity to demonstrate their learning and provide them with all the support they need so that they can be successful. However, students should not be permitted to simply "skip" school and then be provided opportunities to make up exams and missed work. This negates the importance of students attending school. It seems that an alternative would have been to have this student attend summer school, or to make up missed work and take a final exam, rather than simply retake the same final exam and earn a passing grade.

Read the article and let me know what you think!